Authorities say Burry Stander, one of the world’s elite mountain bikers, died Thursday in a road accident in South Africa. He was 25.
According to CNN, Stander was on a training ride near his home in Shelley Beach, on South Africa’s southeastern coast, when he was reportedly struck and killed by a taxi van.
Reports say the taxi driver allegedly stopped after the accident until the arrival of the police. No arrest has been made at this stage,” police said in a statement.
NPR notes the close proximity of the tragic accident to Stander’s childhood home apparently allowed the Olympians family members to arrive at the scene quickly.
“No parent should ever have to see his child lying on a tarred road after an accident, knowing that there is absolutely nothing he can do to save his life,” said his father, Charles Stander, in a statement released Friday. “It is definitely the worst moment of my life. Words cannot even begin to describe how one feels when it happens. It was terrible.”
Stander’s death has also sent shockwaves through the cycling community, with many members taking to Twitter to offer their condolences.
Gary Perkin, one of the world’s leading mountain biking photographers, tweeted:
“I have no words … Only tears! RIP Burry!”
Greg Minnaar, world downhill champion, wrote:
A fighter, champion, gentleman and forever a Legend… RIP Burry
— Greg Minnaar (@GregMinnaar) January 3, 2013
Stander, a former under-19 and under-23 world champion, competed at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, finishing fifth at the London Games.
He leaves behind his wife, multiple South African road race champion Cherise Taylor, who he married in 2012.
Watch a tribute to Burry Stander in the video below: