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Dave Mirra: The Death Of An Extreme Sports Pioneer

Dave Mirra, an X Games competitor and BMX bike icon, died this week at the age of 41. Reuters reported the death and said that Mirra was found in his truck in Greenville, NC, his death the result of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. It was about 4:00 p.m. when he was discovered. He had been visiting friends in the area. He did not leave behind a note.

Regarding Mirra’s death, Mayor of Greenville, Allen Thomas, said, “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.”

The impact of the death of Mirra and his importance to his community was apparent in further comments from Thomas, as quoted by WIFR.

“Dave Mirra was more than just a sports figure. He’s a loving member of this community, and that remains.”

Allen reported talking to Dave Mirra for about 20 minutes hours before his death. He said that Mirra was excited about some ideas he had for some events he wanted to plan for the children of Greenville. Allen described Dave’s relationship with those in the community as resembling that of a father or a friend. The mayor also talked about the multiple physical traumas Mirra experienced in the extreme sports he loved so much and wondered if they had in any way contributed to his death.

The investigation into the death of Dave Mirra is being led by Greenville Police Chief Mark Holtzman. He spoke in the press conference that was held on Friday and said that no new evidence related to the death of Mirra has been collected so far. He did confirm that Dave had apparently been struggling with depression but didn’t have any further information on or insight into the matter. He described the scene of Mirra’s death by saying that he was sitting in his own truck and shot himself with his own handgun.

Dave Mirra won a total of 24 medals in his lifetime, one of the most decorated competitors in X Games history. Dave was widely considered a pioneer in the BMX world, taking the sport to a whole new level. ABC News reports that Mirra first became involved in BMX competition at the age of 13 when he joined the team of Mat Hoffman. This was a dream come true for Dave as Hoffman was his idol at the time. That was in 1992.

In the wake of the death of Dave Mirra is a rich legacy that will live on for years. He landed the first double backflip in BMX competition in the 2000 X Games in San Francisco. Dave medaled in every X Game from 1995 to 2008. Among those medals were 14 golds. He took his expertise outside the world of X Game competition and launched a shoe through DC Shoes, had two video games that bore his name, and hosted MTV’s Real World/Road Rules Challenge.

ESPN issued the following statement regarding Dave Mirra’s death.

“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… Our sincere condolences go out to Dave’s wife, Lauren, his daughters Mackenzie and Madison, the BMX community and friends of Dave Mirra.”

Dave left behind a wife, Lauren, and two daughters, Mackenzie and Madison. Greenville officials encouraged people to reach out for help if they are feeling suicidal or know someone who is. They also shared the phone number for the national suicide hotline, 1-800-273-TALK.

[Photo courtesy of Ed Reinke/Associated Press]