Ang Rita, also known as the "Snow Leopard," climbed Mount Everest 10 times without the use of supplemental oxygen.

Ang Rita was a national hero but struggled financially and suffered from liver illness and swelling of the brain.
Ang Rita was a national hero but struggled financially and suffered from liver illness and swelling of the brain. (AA Archive)

Ang Rita, a legendary climber who holds the record for the highest number of summits on Everest without supplemental oxygen, has died at age 72.

He died on Monday morning at his daughter's home in Kathmandu, said Ang Tshering, a former president of Nepal Mountaineering Association who belongs to the Sherpa ethnic group.

He suffered a stroke in 2017 and had been bedridden since then.

READ MORE: Nepalese Sherpa conquers Mount Everest for 23rd time

'A bright star'

Ang Rita, called "Snow Leopard" for his remarkable feat of 10 Everest summits in many years, reached the top of the 8,848-metre mountain without supplementary oxygen for the first time in 1987.

In 2017, the Guinness World Records awarded him a certificate for his feat. He reached the top of Everest for the 10th time in 1997.

"He will always be remembered for his outstanding performance, which has made the country proud," Tshering told Anadolu Agency. 

"We have lost a bright star of the mountaineering community."

READ MORE: Nepali climber reaches Everest for 24th time

Backbone of mountaineering industry

Sherpas, whose members are among the fabled climbers of the Himalayas, serve as the backbone of the mountaineering industry in Nepal. 

They work as porters and guides, helping foreign climbers scale some of the world's highest mountains.

Ang Rita was born in 1948 in a mountain village under the shadow of Everest.

READ MORE: Mount Everest climb became 'death race'

Source: AA