The world of mountain bike freeriding has lost an icon. Professional mountain biker Kelly McGarry has passed away after collapsing during a practice session on Monday. He was 33 years old.
As reported by BIKE, McGarry was training in Queenstown in his native New Zealand on the Ben Lomond Track, when he fell from his bike at approximately 4:14 p.m. local time. Two local paramedics were flown to the remote location of the incident, where McGarry was pronounced dead on the scene.
One of the most likable mountain bike riders has passed away in Queenstown on Monday, February 1 2016. Which conditions have led to his tragic death are still unclear at this point. Apparently, the 33-year-old was out on his mountain bike.
The entire crew at sponsor YT is absolutely perplexed about the shocking news:
We were informed about his death in the morning and are petrified, shocked and heartbroken about losing one of our family members. Kelly was a warm-hearted, friendly and relaxed guy. He stood for the true essence of mountain biking through every aspect of his life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, girlfriend and his friends. The mountain bike world lost an exceptional character.
We consider it an honor that Kelly was riding for the YT Family last year.
Ride in paradise!
McGarry actually started off his biking career on a BMX bike before quickly outgrowing (McGarry was a towering 6’4″) his ride and moving onto a mountain bike.
“I always dreamed of making it a career,” McGarry told New Zealand’s Stuff last year. “When I lived here and was riding in [my hometown] that all seemed so far away, I didn’t know if it’d ever happen. But as soon as I started traveling and doing good in the comps it worked out. I couldn’t be happier to do my passion for a job.”
McGarry had a reputation for sending some of the biggest features and attempting some of the most daring stunts in mountain biking. By far, his most famous — and most watched — feat was his massive 72-foot backflip over a canyon gap during Red Bull Rampage in 2013.
With over 28 million views to date on YouTube, the trick earned McGarry the silver medal at that year’s Rampage, as well as the admiration of mountain bikers everywhere:
The news of his death triggered an avalanche of emotional responses within the mountain biking and action sports world, where friends and associates took to social media to memorialize McGarry:
They say, "Only the good die young" but this is on a whole 'nother level. Kelly McGarry was the epitome of good. If I had to pick one person to be the face of happiness and positivity for the world, it would be this one atop a gigantic body with bright long hair; the easiest to pick out in a crowd so you always know where the biggest, happiest smile is. Anyone who had ever met this giant beam of sunshine knows how awesome and genuine he was. The world will miss you buddy and wherever you are now is a better place because of it. #mcgazzaforever
Just heard the news about Mtn. Biker Kelly McGarry passing. Gentle giant. Fearless. Kind soul. Legend. Honored to have met him. R.I.P.
— Sal Masekela (@SalMasekela) February 1, 2016
The MTB world has lost a great rider and a great personality. So sad to hear about Kelly McGarry. That canyon flip is seared into my memory.
— Neil Donoghue (@neildonoghue13) February 1, 2016
And while McGarry will undoubtedly be remembered for his fearlessness atop a mountain bike, the most common theme in the various tributes posted online seemed to be his friendly disposition.
As mountain biker Cam Zink put it, “Anyone who had ever met this giant beam of sunshine knows how awesome and genuine he was.”
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