Shawn Barber, former pole vault world champion and Olympic star, has died at the age of 29, according to tragic reports.

The news was confirmed by a statement given by his agent to the Associated Press, outlining that the athlete had passed away at his home in Kingwood, Texas on Wednesday, January 17, 2024.

As per AP, Barber had reported experiencing some health issues prior to his death, though at the time of writing no cause of death has been revealed.

“A friend that will never be forgotten. Canadian Olympic Pole Vaulter Shawn Barber has passed away. 🕊️,” read the Instagram post from Doyle Management, the pole vaulter’s management agency.

“He is currently the Canadian record holder with his personal best of 6.00m and was the 2015 World Champion in the Pole Vault. Shawn was also an Olympic finalist at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro. He will be greatly missed.”

A decorated student-athlete at the University of Akron, Barber was a finalist at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro and held several other titles to his name, including being 2014 and 2015 NCAA Indoor Pole Vault Champion and 2015 NCAA Outdoor Pole Vault Champion.

The pole vaulter’s personal record was a vault of six meters – it remains a Canadian record still today.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 12: Shawnacy Barber of Canada applauds the crowd in the Men’s Pole Vault final during athletics on day eight of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Carrara Stadium on April 12, 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

As expected, fans took to the internet to express their grief at the 29-year-old’s sudden passing.

“Brilliant athlete. May he rest in peace,” one Instagram user wrote.

“I’m absolutely shocked Paul,” another added. “He was such a lovely person.”

Commenting on a video of Barber at the 2015 World Championships, one Twitter user commented: “I still remember this like yesterday. RIP. So many shining stars in this sport gone too soon as of late.

Rest in peace, Shawn!


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