BMX bike legend and record-breaking athlete Dave Mirra is dead following an alleged suicide. The Guardian reports Mirra’s death was confirmed by Greenville, North Carolina, police officials on Thursday evening after Mirra’s body was found earlier the same day.
According to local news sources WNCN and WNCT, police officers “responded to the 200 block of Pinewood Road around 4 p.m. for an apparent suicide.” When they arrived, they found the 41-year-old Greenville-native sitting in a truck, dead from what was allegedly a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
It was later learned Dave had been visiting friends in the area shortly before his death.
Dave Mirra was a BMX legend, dominating the sport from 1995 to 2008. He won 14 gold medals, and his record of 24 career medals remained unbroken until 2013. The record-breaking X Games star also hosted two seasons of MTV’s popular Real World/Road Rules Challenge series.
That aside, many people associated and will continue to associate Dave with being a BMX rider and X Games star. However, Mirra also spent time as a rally driver, and he participated in Ironman and triathlon competitions.
He once told Sports Illustrated, “Ironman competitions are an entirely different ballgame. The level of competition is much higher, and there are way more athletes.”
Stars like Tony Hawk have spoken out as the news of Dave Mirra’s death spreads across the internet.
Hawk said in a tweet, “Goodbye Dave Mirra, a true pioneer, icon and legend. Thank you for the memories.”
As with Tony Hawk and pro-skateboarding, Mirra was himself the star of several BMX video games.
ESPN, which broadcasts the X Games, released a statement in response to the sports star’s passing.
“Dave Mirra, your courage, determination and natural skill in everything you pursued pushed the world of action sports to become a better place. From all of us at X Games and ESPN, we salute your contributions.”
The network also sent out its condolences to Mirra’s wife, Lauren, and his daughters, Mackenzie and Madison. It’s reported that at this time, Dave’s family is asking for “privacy during this very difficult time.”
Fellow BMX rider TJ Lavin was stunned by the news. He reportedly told TMZ that he wished Mirra had reached out.
Said Lavin, “I just wish he would have called me. I would have jumped on a plane in a second.”
“There’s always another way. If anyone needs help, just please get it. I feel sick about this.”
Dave Mirra’s Greenville community is also struggling to come to turns with his apparent suicide. In addition to his personal achievements, Mirra is also credited with bringing the sport of BMX to the city. Greenville now boasts more than 20 professional BMX riders.
“We mourn the loss today of a great friend and wonderful human being who touched the lives of so many around the world with his gift,” said Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas in a statement. “[Mirra] called Greenville, North Carolina home and was as humble a guy talking with kids on a street corner about bikes as he was in his element on the world stage.” Thomas referred to Dave’s death as, “a young life with so much to offer was taken too soon.”
Although early reports indicate a successful suicide attempt, the Greenville Police Department will continue to investigate the matter of Dave Mirra’s death. Mayor Thomas and Police Chief Mark Holtzman are expected to hold a press conference at 9 a.m.
This tragic story is a reminder that no one’s emotional or mental state can be taken for granted. If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1 (800) 273-8255.
[Photo by Ed Reinke/AP]