Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

R.I.P. BMX superstar Dave Mirra

Dave Mirra in his natural element, in 2009. (Photo: Getty Images)

Dave Mirra, a TV host, entrepreneur, and legend in the field of competitive BMX performance, has died, of what Greenville, North Carolina police are referring to as a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Mirra was 41.

A lifetime rider, Mirra started racing competitively in 1984, at age 10, before shifting into freestyle events a few years later. In 1995, he made an appearance at the inaugural X Games, placing second in the BMX Vert; he would go on to flip, kick, and fly his way into 24 X Game medals—the second-highest total in the event’s history—in a variety of events, including his later passion, rally cross racing.

Mirra’s success led to numerous opportunities in the world of pop culture; he appeared on late night talk shows like The Late Show With David Letterman to show off tricks and stunts, and starred in a series of video games, Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX. In 2004, he was tapped to host MTV’s The Challenge (then known as Real World/Road Rules Challenge), which he appeared on for a single season.

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Greenville police issued a statement about Mirra’s death on their Facebook account today, including this quote from mayor Allen Thomas:

“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.”

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Mirra—whose last communication with the public appears to be a series of posts to his Instagram account, left just a few hours before his death—was apparently found in his truck, which he had taken to visit some friends. He is survived by his wife, and two children.

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