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Man Dies During Doughnut-Eating Challenge (Photo)

A man choked to death in a famous doughnut eatery in Denver, Colorado.

"It's tragic," said Curtis Malouff, the father of the victim. "It's a loss of life that shouldn't be." 

Travis Malouff, 42, died from "asphyxia, due to obstruction of the airway," the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner announced on April 3.

Police and paramedics responded to the call that Travis was choking around 1:30 a.m. on April 2.

The manager of the doughnut shop said a person had died in the eatery's lobby, but declined to say anything more, reports KUSA. 

Witnesses say Travis was in the middle of doing a doughnut challenge before he died. 

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The challenge was held to see who could first eat a half-pound doughnut in 80 seconds or less.   

When people realized Travis was choking, they rushed to help him but no one in the group knew how to perform the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the food from his throat.

"They tried so hard to do everything. It was clear that nobody was trained and they were just reacting," said a witness. "You [have to] do something I think." 

Food challenges are popular throughout Colorado, and awards for the contests range from free food for life to bragging rights. 

Other restaurants in the area offer rewards for eating the most food in a short amount of time. Beau Jo's pizza offers two free T-shirts and $100 to anyone who can finish a 14-pound pizza.

A place named Jack-n-Grill offers free food for life to any woman who can finish its 7-pound breakfast burrito. 

A witness to Travis' death spoke of the risks associated with competing in such contests.

"It's too much food for one person, even as the size that he was," Julia Edelstein said. "That's too much for someone to eat. He was trying to force it down." 

Curtis wasn't surprised his son participated in the contest. 

"If a challenge is there -- he'd probably take it," he said. 

Travis left behind his father, his mother Kay Malouff and a brother, Ferris. 

Denver Police do not suspect foul play but have not made any more statements about the case.

According to the New York Post, Travis died on the same day a Sacred Heart University college student died after participating in a pancake eating competition in Fairfield, Connecticut. 

In that case, 20-year-old Caitlin Nelsen was taken to the hospital during her choking episode on March 30 but died two days later, on April 2.

Sources: KUSA, New York Post / Photo credit: Pschemp/Wikimedia Commons, Malouff family via KUSA

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