Man dies in State of Origin pie eating comp

Last updated 12:21 19/07/2013
Fairfax Australia

A "very well liked" 64-year-old rugby league fan dies during a State of Origin pie eating contest in north Queensland.

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An Australian man who died after a pie-eating competition said ''jeez, this chilli pie is hot'' in his final moments, according to onlookers at a north Queensland pub.

Bruce Holland, a 64-year-old Beach Holm man, collapsed during the competition, which was part of State of Origin festivities at Bushland Beach, near Townsville, on Wednesday night.

Two nurses on the scene performed CPR after he collapsed. He was taken to hospital, but later died.

Media reports have claimed the man choked, however police said the cause of death was yet to be determined.

Friend Michelle Bradley said his last words were "jeez, this chilli pie is hot", the Townsville Bulletin reported.

Arthur McMahon, from Lillywhite Hotel Group which owns of the Bushland Beach Tavern, said Holland ''loved his football''.

''He was there to have an enjoyable night and it is such a tragic and unfortunate thing to have happened. He was well known to the whole of Bushie Beach,'' he said.

''He was always up for raffles or anything and used to like winning things.

''At half time, they had this chilli pie competition and people were asked to volunteer and Bruce put up his hand.''

Holland took a few bites and ''started to gasp'' before he passed out.

''There were seven other people in the competition and the meat was not overly hot,'' McMahon said.

McMahon said Holland was a well-respected local who had been going to the pub for more than three years.

''It's one of those tragedies that just happens - it was very difficult for us to know whether it was something that could have been avoided,'' he said.

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- Brisbane Times

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