YAKIMA, Wash. -- An icon of Yakima's mixed martial arts community died this week at the age of 49.
Since word spread of Rich Guerin's death on Thursday, his family has received a flood of support on social media from people mourning their loss.
Rich was the owner of Yakima MMA, a training gym he founded years ago with his wife Julie. Over the years, hundreds of fighters, young and old, have passed through his gym.
"There were so many people who walked into that gym without a clue what they were going to do, and Rich kind of stepped up and gave them a direction to go," said close friend Jeremy Sandino. "Some of them went pro, some of them went really long in the fight career."
Sandino said Rich trained all walks of life, from military and police officers to gang members, and he treated them all with the same respect.
As a full-time employee for the City of Yakima, Rich retired from the gym in December of last year to focus more on his family, Sandino said.
Rich was the father of two children, a son named Grayson and a daughter, Cameron, a highly decorated wrestler who went to A.C. Davis High School. Today, she's training in Colorado for the Olympics.
According to a Facebook post from Rich's wife, he was rushed on Tuesday after having a medical emergency overnight.
Hours before he stopped breathing, Sandino said Rich told him that his wife and kids were his whole life.
Yakima County Coroner Jim Curtice said Rich died at Virgina Mason Memorial Hospital on Thursday. His cause of death is pending.
A GoFundMe page is raising money for Rich's family.
- Olde Yakima Letterpress Museum celebrates opening of new facility
- Police: Burglar steals jewelry while great grandmother sleeps nearby
- Washington state seismologists propose new tracking sensors
- Young West Valley Fire cadet dies after having a medical emergency
- Kennewick firefighters raising money to restore 1935 fire truck