Dave Mirra, a legendary BMX rider and one of the most successful athletes in extreme sports, died Thursday in Greenville, North Carolina.
Mirra, 41, was found sitting in a truck with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Greenville Police Department said. Mirra had been visiting friends in the area before his death, and police were investigating the incident, according to the department.
Mirra was dominant in BMX through the 1990s and 2000s, and helped usher BMX onto the world stage through his career in the X Games. He earned 24 X Games medals (23 in BMX and one in rally driving). Bob Burnquist is the only athlete with more total X Games medals than Mirra, and Shaun White is the only one with more golds.
His athleticism and competitiveness were not solely in BMX. He was also a member of Subaru’s Rally Team and a business owner, and he had considerable success in triathlon and Ironman competitions. Mirra hosted MTV’s “Real World/Road Rules Challenge” for two years and had several signature video games.
Born in Chittenango, New York, Mirra began riding bikes at age 4 and started competing when he was 10. He turned pro soon after graduating high school and became a regular presence on the podium at competitions. His career was almost ended in 1993, after he was struck by a drunken driver.
Mirra was the first BMX rider to land a double backflip in competition. He focused on the park and vert aspects of BMX, but stopped riding park after lacerating his liver in the fall of 2006.
Mirra made Greenville a hub for 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. He 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,” Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas said in the police statement.
Mirra is survived by his wife and two children.
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