Ten, who won the Olympic bronze medal in men’s figure skating four years ago, was taken to an area hospital after a passerby found him unconscious on the street. He died hours later.
Kazakh police have opened a murder investigation.
Kazakhstan’s Sports and Culture Minister Arystanbek Mukhamediuly called Ten’s death an “irreparable loss” for the country.
“Denis Ten was an incredible figure skater, the legend of our sport, our pride,” Mukhamediuly said, according to the Kazakh news agency Kazinform. “This is an unthinkable tragedy.”
Echoing those sentiments was International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, who said in a statement, “Denis Ten was a great athlete and a great ambassador for his sport. A warm personality and a charming man. Such a tragedy to lose him at such a young age.”
Born to Korean parents in Almaty, Ten moved to Moscow at age 10 to pursue skating. Eventually, he relocated to the U.S. to work with California-based coach Frank Carroll.
Ten scored a silver medal at the World Figure Skating Championships in 2013, followed by the bronze at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.