Woman Reportedly Chokes to Death While Competing in Hot Dog Eating Contest

A tragic accident took the life of a 20-year-old Tufts University student after she choked to death after participating in an off-campus charity hot dog eating contest, according to multiple media reports.

Madelyn "Madie" Nicpon, a junior biopsychology major and lacrosse player, participated in a "Play for Pink" breast cancer awareness event at Sommerville, Massachusetts, residence, according to WCVB NewsCenter 5.

The Journal News confirmed the cause of death, adding that first responders performed "extensive life-saving procedures," per a statement from Tufts University.

Nicpon was reportedly taken to Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge before being transferred to Massachusetts General in Boston. She passed away on Sunday due to her injuries.

On Monday, the Tufts University President's Office released a statement on the accident, noting that, on Sunday, "approximately 3,000 students, faculty and staff gathered" for a candlelight vigil in her honor.

"The number of community members who turned out to lend support to each other, to Madie's friends, and to her family was a testament to how many lives Madie touched during her time at Tufts."

Nicpon, who hailed from Suffern, New York, had plans to go into medicine, per The Journal News. The student-athlete was beloved by her lacrosse teammates, who reportedly nicknamed her "Scooter."

"Madie will be remembered as a bright light, a social butterfly, an amazing teammate, a kind and generous person, a wonderful sister and daughter and a Jumbo that we can all aspire to emulate," wrote the Tufts Lacrosse team on their Instagram account. "She will be missed every day."

A GoFundMe page has since been created on behalf of the Nicpon family to assist with funeral and medical expenses. At the time of writing, the fundraiser has received $158,695 in donations, nearly reaching its $175,000 goal.

"Madie Nicpon was a beautiful and brilliant daughter, granddaughter, sister, and friend," wrote the organizer of the fundraiser. "Her contagious smile and laughter lit up every room. Her generosity and kindness has left a lasting impact on those around her."

The incident, unfortunately, is not the first time a competitive eating event has resulted in fatal injuries. In 2019, a 41-year-old woman died while participating in an amateur taco-eating contest. Autopsy reports later confirmed that the cause of death was choking. A similar incident, in 2020, saw a woman in her sixties choke to death after having a seizure during a cake-eating contest.

Candlelight Vigil
A candle lit during a vigil in Mexico, 2018. A Tufts University students passed away after sustaining injuries following participation in an off-campus hot dog eating contest. GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images