Mirra, widely considered to be one of the biggest influences in the history of BMX, was one of the sport’s most successful athletes. He podiumed each year at the X Games from 1995 to 2008, amassing a total of 24 medals, 14 of which were gold. Those 24 medals were the record for the most X Games medals ever held by one athlete until skateboarder Bob Burnquist broke it in 2013.
Police said Mirra was found sitting in a truck with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at approximately 4 p.m. on the 200 block of Pinewood Road. Reports stated that he was visiting friends in the area a short time before the incident.
— Greenville Police (@GreenvillePD) February 5, 2016
“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 a statement released by the Greenville PD. “A young life with so much to offer was taken too soon.”
Mirra was active on social media a few hours before his death, posting a photo of his wife, Lauren, via Instagram with the caption, “My rock! Thank god.” He also reposted another older Instagram photo that appeared to show him riding at J.H. Rose High School in Greenville.
Mirra is survived by Lauren and his two daughters, Madison and Mackenzie.
In an interview with ESPN in 2013, Mirra listed his two daughters as being what keeps him motivated after retiring from BMX. He said that they had helped to keep him grounded and, in some ways, calm the competitive fire that always burned inside of him.
“I guess I just try to find the balance between being fired up and trying to be a good role model for my daughters,” Mirra said.
He also noted how proud he was to see them competing in triathlons and succeeding at a young age.“They’re both much better swimmers than I ever was, and they just did a triathlon where the age group was 6 to 8,” Mirra said. “Maddie got second and Kenzie got third. She’s wasn’t even 6 yet but they let her race, so that’s pretty impressive! It just blows my mind. If they’re getting that go-for-it attitude and competitive spirit from me, then I couldn’t be more proud.”
Police say they will be investigating Mirra’s death and will address the media on Friday morning.
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