The action sports world was constructed on the shoulders of some extremely brave and talented athletes, and Dave Mirra can certainly be counted among them.
His extraordinary success adds to the shock of his passing yesterday. Mirra was found dead in his truck in Greenville, North Carolina from an “apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound” to the head. Mirra had reportedly been visiting friends shortly before the incident.
A winner of 24 X-Games medals during his illustrious carer, Mirra was a champion of the BMX bike community before he retired in 2011. Not long after, Subaru scooped up Mirra, along with a few other big names from the action sports world like Bucky Lasek and Travis Pastrana, to join its Rallycross team.
In a 2013 interview with ESPN, Mirra explained why he chose to make a career shift:
“For me it came down to risk versus reward; my mental stance on it was that I always loved to progress, first and foremost. It was never going to be that fun for me to go on riding on a plateau level and not keep progressing, but by the same token I got to a point where I really couldn’t take getting injured anymore in the name of progression. It put me in a stalemate. I probably could have milked BMX for a lot longer if I’d really wanted to, but that’s not my style.”
During my own discussions with Bucky Lasek at last year’s GRC Exhibition in Austin, Texas, he expressed the same frustration with continuous injuries over his skateboarding career.
The Greenville police department confirmed Mirra’s death yesterday. Mirra is survived by his wife and two children.
“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,” said City of Greenville Mayor, Allen Thomas. “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.”
Several of Mirra’s pro athlete friends, including Ken Block and Tony Hawk, posted tributes to the star and wished encouragement to Mirra’s wife and children.