A 12-year-old boy has died after 19 days on life support, after being found unconscious by his brother in his home.
The family of Joshua Haileyesus, from Aurora, Colorado, believe he tried to choke himself with a shoelace while attempting the “Blackout Challenge”, a viral trend making its way around TikTok.
Devastatingly, the young boy was a twin and was found lifeless by his brother, who tried to resuscitate him before neighbours and emergency crews arrived.
The Blackout Challenge involves children and teens filming themselves holding their breath until they lose consciousness, and sharing the videos online.
Also known as the “Passout Challenge” or the “Game Of Choking”, the dangerous fad has existed on social media for years but gained recent popularity on TikTok.
Joshua was found “breathless on the bathroom floor by his twin brother who tried to resuscitate him until neighbours and the ambulance arrived”, his family wrote on a GoFundMe.
“Unbeknownst to his parents, Joshua had been playing this dangerous game completely unaware of the risks involved.”
While the boy was intubated, doctors had warned the family his chance of surviving was “extremely unlikely”.
After 19 days on life support, Joshua sadly died on Tuesday.
“Everyone who knows Joshua can tell you what an incredibly intelligent, funny, caring, and gifted 12 year old he is,” Alula Arega, the organiser of the GoFundMe wrote in an update on the site.
“Together with his twin brother, he would learn and master new hobbies out of pure curiosity and drive.”
Joshua’s dad, Haileyesus Zeryihun, told CBS4 he “would never imagine my son would do such a thing”.
“I’m paying the price right now, I’m living the life, and I hate for other parents to go through this,” he said.
The GoFundMe, started to help the family pay for medical and funeral costs, has raised more than $US185,000.