The athletics world has been rocked to its core after marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum died in a traffic accident.
Local reports claim the 24-year-old and his coach Gervais Hakizimana both passed away in an incident that occurred at 11pm local time along the Eldoret-Kaptagat road in Kenya.
According to Nation reporters Caroline Wafula and Bernard Rotich, Kiptum was behind the wheel of a Toyota Premio with Hakizimana and a lady who was identified as Sharon Kosgey.
The report claims Kiptum lost control of the car and then veered off the side of the road and landed in a ditch before it hit a tree.
Kiptum and Hakizimana both died at the scene but Kosgey survived and was rushed to Racecourse Hospital.
Kiptum broke the marathon world record last year when he ran the Chicago Marathon in 2:00:35, eclipsing Eliud Kipchoge’s previous record of 2:01:09.
Former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga led the tributes for Kiptum, who had won World Athletic’s Male Athlete of the Year award just two months earlier.
“Devastating news as we mourn the loss of a remarkable individual, Kelvin Kiptum, World Record holder and Kenyan athletics icon,” Odinga wrote on X.
“Together with his coach, they tragically passed on in an accident tonight.
“My deepest condolences to his loved ones, friends, and the entire athletics fraternity. Our nation grieves the profound loss of a true hero.”
Double Olympic gold medalist and President of World Athletics Sebastian Coe described Kiptum as “an incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy.”
“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana,” Coe posted on social media.
“On behalf of all World Athletics we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation.
“It was only earlier this week in Chicago, the place where Kelvin set his extraordinary marathon World Record, that I was able to officially ratify his historic time.
“An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly.”