Former Chaos EC Rainbow Six Siege player Arif “Next1” Keskin has died due to COVID-19, according to multiple figures in the community today. He was 24 years old.
“We’re very saddened to hear our former player [Next1] has tragically passed away,” Chaos EC wrote. “He was a great personality and we were honored to have him play under the Chaos banner.”
Next1 most recently played for Chaos EC in the EUL but was released from the roster in January. On April 13, Next1 informed fans on Twitter that he was checking into the hospital due to complications caused by the COVID-19 virus, including difficulty breathing, coughing, and chills.
Figures across the Rainbow Six community paid tribute to Next1 and his memory.
“This morning a dear friend lost his fight to Covid,” former G2 Esports analyst Kevin “Sua” Stahnke said. “I am lost for words and can’t describe how i feel. There was so much we wanted to get done, so much we had planned. And now you’re gone. I am lost for words. Please take care after yourselves.”
Next1’s loss is a blow to the Rainbow Six competitive community. The reports of his passing broke just minutes before the beginning of the grand finals of the Six Invitational between Ninjas in Pyjamas and Team Liquid. The Six Invitational is the most prestigious event in the Rainbow Six competitive ecosystem and crowns the world champion every year.
“This is heartbreaking,” Rainbow Six commentator Geo Collins said. “Next1’s last tweets were about his struggles suffering with Covid too.”
Next1’s family has not provided a statement on the situation.
Update on May 23 at 11:55am: This article has been updated to include Chaos EC’s statement.