Cyclist Rab Wardell died Tuesday morning, two days after he won a championship race in Scotland.
The death of Cyclist Rab Wardell was confirmed by his partner, Olympian Katie Archibald, who said he went into cardiac arrest while the two were in bed.
“I think you’ve heard that Rab died yesterday morning. I still don’t understand what’s happened; if this is real; why he’d be taken now — so healthy and happy,” she wrote.
Archibald continued: “He went into cardiac arrest while we were lying in bed. I tried and tried, and the paramedics arrived within minutes, but his heart stopped and they couldn’t bring him back. Mine stopped with it.”
According to BBC, Wardell a native of Scotland raced at the Scottish MTB XC Championships in Dumfries and Galloway over the weekend, where he won the elite men’s title.
While speaking to BBC after the race, he recalled how his tires became punctured three times during the event.
“To be honest, it was a bit of a disaster, but I just have to keep on trucking and keep racing,” he said.
“I guess I still felt confident that I’d be able to catch the leaders and win, so I just gave it my best shot what more can you do?” Wardell, who turned professional this year, recalled.
In her social media post, Archibald, 28, opened up about her emotions since Wardell’s death.
“I love him so much and need him here with me. I need him here so badly, but he’s gone,” she said. “I can’t describe this pain.”
“Thank you to those making tributes,” Archibald continued. “I can’t bear to talk about him in the past tense, to say anything myself. You mean everything to me, Rab. I love you.”
Scottish Cycling paid tribute to Wardell in a series of posts on Twitter Tuesday.
“We are devastated to confirm the news that international mountain biker [and] former employee, Rab Wardell, has passed away today,” their message said. “We have very little information at this stage, but we send our love [and] support to his family, friends [and] all those in our community who knew him.”
The sentiments were shared by the Scottish Cross Country Association, who called Wardell “Our Champion, Our Inspiration, Our Friend.”
“We have the saddest news to share with you all today,” the group wrote. “We are devastated to relay to you the tragic news that our friend, our Champion Rab Wardell has died overnight.
Our deepest sympathy to his friends , family and loved ones. He will be truly missed by our community and his determination, talent and friendship will live on in all our hearts and memories.”