RIP: Dave Mirra (1974–2016)
The legend of extreme sports—who was to BMX what Tony Hawk was to skateboarding—was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Dave Mirra, the BMX rider who made the sport a household name and who won twenty-four X Games medals in his career, has died in an apparent suicide. His body was found in a truck in Greenville, North Carolina, where he had been visiting friends. He leaves behind a wife—Lauren Blackwell Mirra, whose photo he posted to Instagram earlier on Thursday with the caption “My rock! Thank god”—and two children.
As Rolling Stone reports, Mirra first rose to prominence as a thirteen year old in 1987, when he was discovered by the Haro Bikes BMX team. From there, Mirra went on to an incredibly prolific career. His X Games medal count was the highest among all athletes until he was surpassed by Bob Burnquist in 2013. Along with Shaun White, he is one of only two athletes to win multiple gold medals in three X Games.
Mirra’s talent and charisma gave him a life beyond the vert pipe. He hosted MTV’s Real World/Road Rules Challenge and competed in rally car races (of which he amusingly said “The risk isn’t too high”). Later in life, he began running triathlons, finishing 109th in the 2015 Lake Placid Ironman.
ESPN notes that Mirra was beginning to show a renewed interest in BMX in recent years. He apparently built a vert ramp in a warehouse in Greenville, and rumors recently circulated that he might compete in the X Games in Austin this summer.