Marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum has died aged 24 in an accident in his native Kenya.
The coach of 2023 London Marathon winner Gervais Hakizimana also died in the car crash, while a third person was rushed to hospital.
Responding to the news, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said: “Devastating news as we mourn the loss of a remarkable individual, Kelvin Kiptum, world record holder and icon of Kenyan athletics.
“Along with his coach, they tragically died in an accident this evening. Our nation mourns the profound loss of a true hero.
The accident occurred at 11 p.m. local time on a road linking Eldoret to Kaptagat in southwest Kenya.
In October 2023, Kiptum set a new marathon world record of two hours and 35 seconds at the Chicago Marathon.
Earlier in April, he also set a new London Marathon record of two hours, one minute and 25 seconds.
It was only last week that Kiptim’s October record was ratified by World Athletics, and the star announced he would attempt to become the first man to run a marathon in under two hours in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in April.
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe reacted to the news, saying: “We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana.
“On behalf of World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the nation of Kenya.
“It was only at the beginning of the week in Chicago, where Kelvin set his extraordinary marathon world record, that I was able to officially ratify his historic time.
“An incredible athlete who leaves an incredible legacy, he will be greatly missed.”
Meanwhile, London Marathon organizers said: “We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear the terrible news of the passing of marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana.
“The thoughts of everyone participating in the TCS London Marathon are with the family and friends of Kelvin and Gervais.”