According to local reports, Gracia won the drinking festival's top prize and hoisted his trophy into the air. But the event, held in the Gea y Truyols district of Murcia, took a tragic turn soon after when Gracia began to vomit and didn't stop.
At that time, witnesses called emergency services, believing Gracia was suffering from alcohol poisoning. Seated in a chair, Gracia was held upright while bystanders waited for medical personnel. Observers noted to local media that the heavyset man appeared to nod off.
By the time the medical team arrived, Gracia was reportedly in cardiac arrest. The 45-year-old was rushed to a local hospital, but passed away shortly after his arrival Wednesday night.
Though Gracia's alcohol consumption is believed to be a factor in his death, officials have not confirmed his specific cause of death. In fact, Mayor José Manuel Gracia walked back the official tally of how much Gracia drank, telling local newspaper La Verdad the winner consumed two to three liters during the contest.
Under the rules of the drinking competition, contestants must drink as many liter-glasses of beer as possible in the 20-minute time span.
The beer drinking contest is part of the area's annual festival, which has been held for more than 15 years. However, following the death, future festival plans have been suspended, La Nueva España note