published on August 14, 2019 - 9:47 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday morning that the man who fell ill during a taco eating contest at Chukchansi Park Tuesday evening has died.

No cause of death has been announced for Dana Hutchings, 41, of Fresno.

“We are not ruling a cause of death yet, but we have an idea,” said Tony Botti, Fresno County sheriff and coroner public information officer, in an email Wednesday.

According to The Fresno Bee, Hutchings was rushed to the hospital after collapsing in the middle of participating in the taco-eating contest in the third inning of the baseball game between the Fresno Grizzlies and Memphis Redbirds.

Hutchings died shortly after arriving at the hospital, Botti said.

The Fresno Grizzlies announced on their Facebook account that the taco-eating competition has been canceled.

“We are devastated to learn that the fan that received medical attention following an event at Tuesday evening’s game has passed away. The Fresno Grizzlies extend our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the family of Mr. Hutchings,” said Fresno Grizzlies President Derek Franks in a statement. “The safety and security of our fans is our highest priority. We will work closely with local authorities and provide any helpful information that is requested.”

The winner of the competition would then qualify for the taco-eating event at the annual Taco Truck Throwdown held on Saturday.

The winner of last year’s taco-eating contest, professional eater Geoff Esper ate 73 tacos, according to the Associated Press.

An autopsy is planned for Thursday, he added.

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