Spanish bullfighter dies after being gored in French bullring

Ivan Fandino was one of the best known toreros in the highly controversial sport

A well-known Spanish matador has died in hospital after he was gored in a bullring in south-western France over the weekend.

Ivan Fandino, 36, slipped in the arena after getting his feet caught in the cloak he was using as part of the bull fight. Charged by the bull, Fandino’s was impaled on its horns, suffering a fractured lung.

From the Basque region, Fandino was taking part in a fight at the Aire-sur-l’Adour bullfighting festival in France. The seasoned matador had already completed one bullfight earlier that day, having killed that bull and cut off its ear, as is customary in the controversial sport.

Born near the Spanish port city of Bilbao, Fandino was one of the most celebrated toreros in the country. In 2012, he became a household name after single-handedly fighting six bulls presented by six different breeders in a Bilbao ring, after the other matadors declined to fight them.

Removed from the scene by an ambulance, Fandino suffered two heart attacks en route to a nearby hospital, succumbing to his injuries in the town of Mont-de-Marsan.

The Spanish royal family and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy were among those who paid tribute to Fandino. On its official Twitter account, the royal family described him as a “great bullfighting figure,” while Rajoy offered his condolences to the matador’s surviving family and friends:

Fandino’s death is the second in less than a year, after 29-year-old Victor Barrio was gored in the chest by a bull during a live TV broadcast. A month before that, 64-year-old Mexican fighter Rodolfo Rodriguez El Pana died after spending weeks in hospital after also being gored in the chest during a bullfight in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Despite centuries of practice, bullfighting has become increasingly controversial in Spain, despite its enduring popularity. Across the country, roughly 1,800 fights take place annually, with 6m fans coming to see the sport.

In the past 20 years, there have been calls from animal welfare groups to ban the sport, with the Canary Islands and Catalonia the only regions forbidding it.

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