Colorado boy left brain dead after TikTok ‘blackout challenge’ dies

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A 12-year-old Colorado boy left brain dead after participating in a dangerous TikTok challenge — which dares people to choke themselves until they pass out — has died, relatives said.

Joshua Haileyesus, who was discovered unconscious by his twin brother on a bathroom floor at the family’s Aurora home on March 22, died Tuesday following 19 days on life support, according to an online fundraiser.

“Joshua has gone off to be with the Lord,” the page reads. “To everyone who has prayed relentlessly and shared our burden during this trying time, we thank you. Your prayers and your love have comforted us and we are grateful for your support.”

The boy’s father, Haileyesus Zeryihun, told KCNC he wants other parents to be aware of the challenge that had been trending on sites like TikTok and YouTube, encouraging children and teens to film themselves holding their breath until they passed out.

Relatives said they believe Joshua used a shoelace while performing the challenge.

“I would never imagine my son would do such a thing,” Zeryihun told the station. “I’m paying the price right now. I’m living the life, and I hate for other parents to go through this.”

The boy died Tuesday, KCNC reported. Relatives told the station Joshua was a talented public speaker who aspired to become a pastor. He also planned to join the Army, according to the online fundraiser.

“Unbeknownst to his parents, Joshua had been playing this dangerous game completely unaware of the risks involved,” an organizer previously wrote, adding that doctors had said his chance of survival was extremely unlikely.

Funeral arrangements for the 12-year-old are pending.

The Aurora Police Department’s Crimes Against Children Unit is investigating the incident, the Denver Post reported.

TikTok, meanwhile, released a statement last month expressing “profound sympathies” for Joshua and his family.

“At TikTok, we have no higher priority than protecting the safety of our community, and content that promotes or glorifies dangerous behavior is strictly prohibited and promptly removed to prevent it from becoming a trend on our platform,” the statement read.

“We also block related hashtags and searches to discourage people from participating in or sharing potentially dangerous content.”

With Post Wires

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