The family of Dave Mirra released a written statement on Friday after he was found dead of an apparent suicide the day before, according to US Weekly.
Steve Astephen, a longtime friend of the family and agent, gave the statement to the website Syracuse.com.
“Dave’s wife and family are shocked and saddened by the loss of such a remarkable person whom they loved so deeply,” said Astephen, in the statement. “Thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers and for respecting their privacy through this difficult time.”
Mirra, who gained famed as a BMX biker, was found dead on Thursday afternoon in Greenville, North Carolina after visiting friends that lived in town, according to Syracuse.com. While Greenville Police are investigating his death, a medical examiner on the scene determined that Mirra died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 41-years-old.
“There’s absolutely nothing that would lead us to believe that there’s an accident,” said Mark Holtzman, Greenville’s Police Chief. “The detectives conducted interviews at the scene with several individuals, family members and really everything in this case just points to a suicide.”
According to WNCT, there wasn’t a suicide note left at the scene and in the upcoming weeks, a toxicology screening will be conducted.
According to New York Daily News, it is suspected that Mirra might have been suffering from CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). CTE is a sports-related brain injury that’s been linked to depression.
“This is a young man — and I’ll call him a young man in his early 40s — that had a pretty rugged sports career and took a lot of injuries in his career,” said Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas, during a press conference a day after Mirra’s death.
Thomas continued, “You have to give pause and think and wonder, just as we hear about brain trauma in football and other sports and activities, whether that played a factor.”
Mirra is survived by his wife, Lauren, and his two daughters, Madison and Mackenzie.
According to Dave Mirra’s official website, Mirra was struck by a drunk driver, almost ending his career. However, Mirra bounced back and was described as “one of the most decorated X Games BMX riders of all time,” winning more than 20 medals. According to US Weekly, he also hosted the MTV program Real World/Road Rules Challenge for two seasons in the late 90’s.
Paul A. Specht, a writer for the Raleigh-based newspaper News & Observer, paid tribute to the BMX biker in an article published on Friday.
“In North Carolina, Mirra was the guy some rode with and were inspired by even before he won gold medals and graced the cover of video games,” said Specht, who noted that Mirra created such a friendly culture for BMX biking that other professionals moved to Greenville.
Specht continued, “And in Greenville, where he lived, Mirra was an accessible sports icon who turned the small city into a home training ground for BMX athletes.”
“He helped put X games and BMX on the map,” said Tim Reed, the vice president of the X Games.
While he spent his later years in North Carolina, Mirra, who hailed from Chittenango, New York, often visited the Syracuse area. According to Syracuse.com, he raced in the 2013 Syracuse 7.3 Ironman competition and kept his fans updated about his visits to the area.
Many fans and celebrities have posted tributes to Dave Mirra on social media.
“He was an inspiring person, and super humble,” said Eric Hinman, who has been credited with getting Mirra to compete in triathlons. “He lived for his wife and kids. I have no idea how this could happen.”
“I just wish he would have called me. I would have jumped on a plane in a second,” said close friend T.J. Lavin. “There’s always another way. If anyone needs help, just please get it. I feel sick about this.”
[Photo by Fredrick M. Brown/Getty Images]