Russia’s Channel 5 have reported the death of poker player and esports star, Liliya Novikova, also known as “Liay5,” as the 26-year-old was found dead in her bathroom in Moscow on Wednesday, apparently from a massive electric shock.
Dubbed “Russia’s most beautiful poker player” by her country’s media, Novikova was a former PokerStars Pro and avid Twitch streamer. She had a very large following in her home country that made her the most popular female poker streamer on the platform, with nearly 25,000 followers.
According to Russian news, Novikova had been home alone at the apartment she shared with her parents on the affluent Kutuzovsky Prospekt in central Moscow. Her parents became worried when they were unable to reach Liliya on her phone and asked a neighbour to check on her. The neighbor found her body on the bathroom floor.
A post-mortem has yet to be completed, but investigators said the absence of signs of violence on Novikova’s body suggested her death was accidental. Preliminary checks on the body suggested signs of electric shock trauma.
She was believed to have been blow-drying her hair in the moments leading up to her death and reports have suggested the hairdryer may have been faulty. It’s believed she may have banged her head as a result of the electric shock.
By the age of 22, Liliya Novikova had gained PokerStars “Supernova Elite” status – the highest ranking on the site, where she was a specialist in hyper-turbo six-max sit-and-gos.
Her biggest dent on the live tournament scene was when she won the EPT Prague NLH Deepstack event in 2015 for $54,068.