X Games legend Dave Mirra dies at 41
CTE may have caused depression, friend says
MIAMI – BMX legend Dave Mirra, who held the record for most X Games medals in history until 2013, died Thursday. He was 41.
Police in Greenville, N.C., said he used his handgun to kill himself in the car, after he had been struggling with depression. He was born in New York but grew up in Greenville.
Before his death, there were two posts on his Instagram account. One had a picture of his wife and said, "My rock! Thank God."
Greenville mayor Allen Thomas, who considered Mirra a friend, said Friday during a press conference that Mirra could have been suffering from the debilitating brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which can only be diagnosed during an autopsy.
He "took a lot of injuries in his career," Thomas said.
Mirra won his first X Games medal in 1995 and was the host of "Real World/Road Rules Challenge" on MTV. He dominated the sport of BMX and turned the Haro Bikes into a household name.
He became an icon after earning a medal every year from 1995 to 2008 and winning 14 gold medals.
ESPN released a statement Thursday night crediting him with pushing the world of action sports and BMX star Tony Hawk was one of the many athletes who mourned his death on Twitter.
"A true pioneer, icon and legend," Hawk said. "Thank you for the memories. We are heartbroken."
In 2014, Mirra said he lost his drive after he was injured in 2010, in Salt Lake City. After a stint at Rally car racing, he started to do triathlons. He finished 109th in the 2015 Ironman in Lake Placid, New York.
ESPN reported there was talk about Mirra making a return appearance to the BMX Vert ramp at X Games Austin this year.
BMX star Shaun White said Mirra was an inspiration and a "true legend." Motorcross rider Carey Hart said he was in complete shock.
"Angry, heart broken and just sad at the passing of my friend," Hart said.
His wife Lauren Mirra and two daughters, Macenzie and Madison survive him.
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