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After a month-long battle with COVID-19, former Chaos Esports and Defusekids pro Arif "Next1" Keskin has passed away aged 24.
Next1 had shared on Twitter on April 13 that he had contracted COVID-19. He had then continued to tweet until April 15, where he had stated that the hospital staff were "watching [his] health status really good (sic)".
However, he had not tweeted since, with Rogue player Maurice "AceeZ" Erkelenz stating that Next1 had been placed in an artificial coma.
Next1 had debuted in the German national tournament Six Lounge Series 6 with Greedy Gaming in July 2018. After joining a few other lower-tier rosters, he then joined Chaos Esports as a stand-in towards the end of Season 10 of the Pro League.
He had continued to play in Tier 2 and 3 competitions, joining the Defusekids (LowLandLions) roster for Season 11 of the Challenger League and won Season 5 of the Benelux League.
Chaos Esports had signed him permanently following that, with Next1 helping the team to the Nordic Championship title immediately.
However, fortunes would not be as kind in the new 2020 European League season, as Chaos Esports finished in 10th place, automatically relegating it to the Challenger League for 2021.
While it had recovered somewhat, finishing joint-third in the Six Invitational 2021 European qualifier, Next1 left the team shortly after and became a free agent.
Members of the competitive community recalled Next1's positive impact on them on Twitter, with former teammates, competitors, and casters all sending condolences to his family.
Calls have also come up to immortalise Next1 in game, such as had been done on an arcade machine on Theme Park with BostonBearJew.