Tetris champion Jonas Neubauer has died

Jonas Neubauer holds his trophy from the 2017 Classic Tetris World Championship
(Image credit: CTWC)

Jonas Neubauer, a seven-time winner of the Classic Tetris World Championship and popular Twitch streamer, has died at the age of 39. According to messages posted to his Twitter profile and Discord, he died of "a sudden medical emergency" on January 5.

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As Neubauer once told Tetris.com, he first got into Tetris after playing it on his uncle's Macintosh at the age of six or seven. "The simplicity of it intrigued me and I also enjoyed the fact that I was against the game itself and not another player", he said. "My older brothers were great at Chess and I never liked playing them."

Neubauer competed in and won the first Classic Tetris World Championship in 2010, and returned to win again in 2011, 2012, and 2013 before placing second in 2014. He came back to win three more times in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and also set two world records in 2018 for highest score, and fastest time to 300,000 points. 

The Classic Tetris World Championship website described him as "an absolute pillar of positivity and humility", and you can see that on display in this footage following his loss in the 2018 grand final to 16-year-old newcomer Joseph Saelee.

Neubauer streamed some of his practice matches on Twitch to over 25,000 followers, as well as other games—from attempts to beat his personal best in Hades to live games of Dungeons & Dragons played around the table. His final upload shows him playing TETR.IO, a free Tetris fan game, with his wife Heather Ito beside him, chatting to his many fans.

Tributes to Neubauer have come from all over the internet, with Tetris grandmaster Tomohiro Tatejima describing "deep grief for this huge loss" and Spelunky designer Derek Yu saying, "The game and its fans couldn't have asked for a better champion."

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Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.