by Chris Morris

A 32-year-old gamer in Taiwan is dead after suffering an apparent cardiac arrest during a 72-hour gaming binge.

The man, who has only been identified by his surname “Hsieh,” was found sprawled on a table in an Internet café. Authorities say it’s unclear how long he had lain there before being discovered, but they suspect several hours.

“He has been unemployed for a long time, and Internet cafes were the only place he could go to,” said Jennifer Wu, a police spokesperson from the Hunei district precinct. “His family said he would disappear for two to three days on end.”

Other gamers in the café reportedly continued playing – even when police and paramedics arrived on scene. That might sound harsh, but officials say Hsieh was a regular at the café and would often sleep face down or slumped in his chair, so it’s possible few realized the severity of the situation.

The cold temperatures maintained in the café and the stress of playing and sitting in the same position for an extended period of time are the likely contributors to the death. Deep vein thrombosis, a condition marked by blood clots in the legs, has been linked to several gaming-related deaths over the years.

Hsieh’s death is the second Internet café catastrohphe in Taiwan this year. Five days before Hsieh was discovered, another man was found dead in Taipei after playing an online game for five consecutive days. Taiwan has an unfortunate history when it comes to gamer deaths. 2012 saw a pair of deaths from players who didn’t know when to call it quits and take a break.

Deaths in Internet cafes are rare, but happen from time to time when players concentrate so intensely on their games that they ignore factors like the body’s need for sleep and food.

The deaths underscore the risk of game addiction, which more and more people are becoming worried about as the industry grows.

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