The erythrocyte sedimentation rate is one of the oldest medical diagnostic methods whose physical mechanisms remain debatable today. Using both light microscopy and mesoscale cell-level simulations, we show that erythrocytes form a soft-particle gel. Furthermore, the high volume fraction of erythrocytes, their deformability, and weak attraction lead to unusual properties of this gel. A theoretical model for the gravitational collapse is developed, whose predictions are in agreement with detailed macroscopic measurements of the interface velocity. © 2022 American Physical Society.