Poker World Mourns Passing of Amir Vahedi

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Surprise and sadness are the two words that best currently describe the poker community with news that professional poker player Amir Vahedi has passed away at the age of 57. Vahedi, who battled diabetes throughout his life finally succumbed as a result of complications with the disease.

The story was relayed first by fellow poker pro and friend, Mark Seif, who late on Saturday night posted on his blog about the untimely passing. On his blog, Seif wrote:

"I've just been told by close friends of Amir Vahedi that Vahedi passed away in Las Vegas on January 8, 2010, due to complications involving blood sugar levels. Waiting for more details. Devastating news. Very very sad."

Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in the world and millions of people battle it on a daily basis. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find someone that doesn't have a friend, relative or acquaintance who is forced to monitor their blood sugar levels.

Vahedi, well liked among his peers, was known for having a sharp wit about him and became a household name during a WSOP Main Event run in 2003, when Chris Moneymaker essentially launched the poker boom. More recently, Vahedi finished 7th in the WPT Championship in 2008 in which he pocketed over a quarter of a million dollars. Vahedi also owns a single World Series of Poker bracelet which he earned in 2003 in a $1,500 no limit poker event.

The sad news has led to an outpouring of support from poker players all over the world. Many of the messages were sent through popular social networking tool, Twitter. On Twitter, Annie Duke wrote,

Still thinking about Amir. What a nice, sweet, funny soul. I keep picturing him with his cigar and his smile. 2 things he always had.

Poker brat Phil Hellmuth mused

"Amir Vahedi Rest In Peace my old friend...Amir was one of the nicest, gentlest guys on tour, and everyone loved him...Very sad, diabetes..."

Vahedi was well known in Hollywood circles as the player who mentored A-lister Ben Affleck on the nuances of the game. After migrating to the United States from Iran, Vahedi found his place in the world as a successful poker player who seemingly loved the camaraderie found at the poker table.

The game has truly lost one of its most beloved characters.