A graduate student died Thursday as he was about to win a competitive eating contest at a college in central Taiwan, Reuters reported.
As the 23-year-old was throwing back buns filled with rice and cheese, as well as some of his teammate’s food, he began vomiting uncontrollably and then lost consciousness and died, Dayeh University officials said.
The contestant, described as tall and strong, had pulled ahead of 30 other teams in the “Big Stomach King” contest just before the incident.
“I can't say why he died,” Reuters quoted university dean of student affairs Huang Te-hsiang. “He had been in the contest before. He was a strong guy.”
The victim, named Chen, may have died from eating too fast, the university said. He would have won $60 if he had finished first in the 5-year-old annual binge-eating contest, Reuters reported.
All campus-based eating contests have been halted in Taiwan while an investigation is launched.