Juan Joya Borja, aka El Risitas, dead: Twitch’s favorite emote KEKW, “Spanish Laughing Guy” meme passes at 65

Juan Joya Borja Aka El Risitas
Juan Joya Borja Aka El Risitas
R A Karthik Prasad

The Twitch community has lost El Risitas, the man whose face turned into the iconic KEKW emoji at 65.

Juan Joya Borja, famously known as the “Spanish laughing guy,” died in his home in Seville, Spain, due to a long-fought illness.

El Risitas meme man suffered leg amputation from illness before death

Any internet geek who’s been around social media platforms would be familiar with El Risitas, which translates as “little laughs,” a meme that has stayed relevant for more than a decade.

The death of Spanish comedian El Risitas was felt even more throughout Twitch, where streamers and users shared a closer relationship with the emoji.

According to reports, El Risitas was reportedly being treated at Virgen del Rocio Hospital and had been admitted since September 2020. After learning of the comedian’s health issues, which included diabetes, fans raised an undisclosed amount of euros (in thousands) to cover his medical charges.

The internet star even thanked his supporters for their help before his passing. He also allegedly had to go through a leg amputation due to his illness.

El Risitas parody meme grew popular after 2007 interview

The iconic laugh comes from a 2007 interview that shows Borja sharing his experience working at a restaurant.

On many occasions, the video has been redubbed over the years and has been the go-to meme to mock or throw shade at controversy.

Spanish comedian Juan Joya Borja/Image via Alchetron
Spanish comedian Juan Joya Borja/Image via Alchetron

The signature laugh was well known during controversies in the hardware world – mocking graphics card corporations such as NVIDIA for their disasters with a graphics processing unit line up (GPU) called GTX 970.

That’s certainly just one instance of a meme that’s well known among all.


In 2014, Borja gained quite the popularity after a clip went viral on Reddit. It was the start of several parodies, and the comedian was the face of them all.

Borja was immortalized as a meme figure. El Risitas' use is likely to skyrocket as the world learns of his unfortunate demise.

The internet came together to pay tribute to the comedian. Twitter has been filled with reactions to El Risitas' cherishable laugh.

Edited by Srijan Sen
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