Eric Ortiz, a former Louisville Cardinals cheerleader who 10 national championships, died on Saturday, according to multiple outlets. He was 30 years old. The cause of death was not revealed, but people who know Ortiz said his death was unexpected. GymTyme said Oritz died as the program was celebrating homecoming.
"Eric Ortiz was a force when he joined our program," GymTyme said in a statement. "He could stunt, tumble, jump, dance, and perform with some of the greatest athletes that have ever stepped a shoe onto a cheer floor. He was captivating as an athlete. He could do it all and that he did. He was a leader at practice and on the competition floor.
We would like to send our thoughts, prayers and condolences to the family and friends of Eric Ortiz who has passed away. Many of you know him as a former U of Louisville/ Gymtyme athlete. 💙❤️ pic.twitter.com/oeiA9aUjjf— CHEER Confessions Inc. (@CheerFessions1) October 22, 2022
"Eric was a sweet, amazing, and genuine person. There were always plenty of smiles, hugs, and reasons to laugh when he was near. His positivity was infectious with his teammates, program, and friends. He was a light that pushed whatever darkness and worry present- away. As we all face this moment of darkness together, we will remember that we are not alone. We still have each other and our memories of you. We will miss you terribly but know you would want us to live our best life."
According to CheerMad.com, Ortiz was also a two-time World Champion along with being a 10-time national champion. Gabi Butler, who is known for being on the Netflix show Cheer, said Ortiz is "the most beautiful soul" she's ever met. "You walked into a room and it lit up with this bright light," Butler said. "You were full of joy, laughter, happiness, light and love. From the very moment I saw you, I knew you were special."
Another cheerleader, Mackenzie Leigh, said Ortiz "was always where I ended up going before I even thought about being there, but our paths never crossed until this past year when he decided to dust off his cheer shoes and join Chrome for Worlds." Leigh also said that she is "so grateful I was able to see the kind, funny, beautiful person he was inside. Someone who radiated light and strength into every room he walked in. This is such a devastating loss and I know that from my brief time of knowing Eric that he has added so much joy, laughter, and love into so many people's lives." Visitation for Ortiz will be held at the Sisto Funeral Home in the Bronx, New York on Thursday.