Sudden death of Cuban basketball star after undergoing surgery in El Salvador leaves country in shock

Leydis Oquendo was 40 years old and was the leading scorer in 2022. The reason for her surgery had not yet been confirmed. Sports leader Yamil Bukele mourns the death of the Cuban player

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Leydis Oquendo (Twiiter)
Leydis Oquendo (Twiiter)

The unexpected death of a stellar Cuban basketball player, Leydis Oquendo, in El Salvador, after undergoing surgery, caused a stir in the sports world of both countries.

Oquendo was the leading scorer in the Salvadoran League, where she was called the “Queen of Baskets.” Salvadoran media lamented the death of the Cuban athlete, but did not know the reasons for her unexpected death.

“My deepest condolences to her family and to all Salvadoran basketball for this irreparable loss,” wrote the president of the Salvadoran Basketball Federation, Yamil Bukele, on social media.

For its part, Cuban sports media said Oquendo “died after a postoperative complication in El Salvador” on October 5.

The “Jit” site of the State Sports Institute (INDER), which confirmed the death, does not specify who took the player to the operating room or the hospital where she was operated on in the Central American capital.

Leydis Oquendo (Internet)
Leydis Oquendo (Internet)

Oquendo was a member of the national team for more than 16 years and played in the World Championships in Brazil 2006 and Turkey 2014.

Among her most outstanding results with the Cuban national squad was the sixth place finish in the Youth World Championship in 2001.

The basketball player, a native of the Camaguey province, east of Havana, won the Central American and Caribbean Games twice and the Centrobasquet tournament five times (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012).

She also excelled in league play in the Dominican Republic and Argentina.

“We are dismayed by her death, it is a severe blow to the Cuban basketball family and sports in general,” said former player Dalia Henry, president of the Cuban federation.

Oquendo had been playing in El Salvador since 2017. Several seasons ago, she was a multi-champion with Santa Tecla BKB and FAS Fever, and also won the scoring title with them this past season.