The tragic news has broken that 41-year-old BMX legend Dave Mirra has been found dead in North Carolina of an apparent suicide.
Greenville police confirmed that they responded to a report on Thursday night and arrived to find Mirra’s body inside the truck with a self-inflicted shotgun wound, reports ABC7.
Dave is survived by his wife and two children. A statement from Allen Thomas, mayor of Greenville, reads:
“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. A young life with so much to offer was taken too soon."
To say that Dave Mirra was a legend of BMX is an understatement. He was one of the pioneers of the sport and was respected not just in the community but across the world as a result of his riding.
Dave was on a bike by the age of five, taking on dirt jumps and showing that there was something special about this small American kid. He got his first sponsorship in 1987, aged just 13 after being spotted riding flatland at a General Bikes show. He would go on to accept a better sponsorship from Haro later that same year.
Mirra moved into ramp riding and met BMXer Kevin Jones of the Plywood Hoods – one of the most famous BMX collectives ever and the men behind the first homemade freestyle video “Dorkin’ in York", the sequel to which would feature Dave.
He turned professional in 1992 after graduating from high school aged 17 and picked up sponsors from Hoffman Bikes to Airwalk and Standard Bikes. He invented a whole host of tricks and began to make a major impact on the scene.
In a moment that would go down in BMX history, Mirra would hand fellow icon Mat Hoffman his first loss in three years at a half-pipe contest in 1993, dethroning the greatest ever to take his place at the top of the sport.
That same year though, a shocking accident would see Mirra almost killed when a drunk driver hit his car, but he would overcome chronic migraines to find his motivation again in 1995 – the same year the X-Games were formed.
Dave bounced back from a fractured skull and torn shoulder to re-sign with Haro and become the most decorated rider in the history of the X-Games, winning 24 medals – 14 golds, six silvers and four bronze.
Though his record at the X-Games would be passed by Bob Burnquist, there is no debate over the iconic status of this rider.
This was the man who landed the first ever double backflip in competition in 2000 and spawned a much-loved video game series the same year. ‘Dave Mirra freestyle BMX’ inspired millions to climb onto two wheels, and resulted in the rider even getting his own brand of cereal and bubble gum.
This was the man who rode through the “dark days" of BMX freestyle, when it looked like it could disappear, and who’s sponsorship with Reebok down the line earned a lot of visibility for the sport.
Dave appeared on chat shows as mainstream as Letterman, hosted shows himself, won countless awards for his riding, and along with his brother Tim Mirra and Ryan Nyquist gave Greenville the nickname “Protown" as it became a hub for professional BMX. He was a superstar in every sense of the word.
In his later years he developed a loved for triathlon, iron man contests and rally car driving. The news that he has passed away will no doubt be mourned far and wide across the world.
BMX has lost a true hero, legend, icon and friend today. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Dave.