Late Thursday, 4 February 2016, afternoon Greenville, NC police responded to a call about a suicide. When police arrived on the scene they found 41-year-old Dave Mirra in a truck the victim of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Hours before his death Mr. Mirra posted two photos on his Instagram account, including one photo of him and his wife Lauren with the tagline: My rock! Thank god.
It is said that Mirra, a long-time resident of Greenville, NC, had been visiting friends early that day.
For those of you who are not familiar with extreme sports, Dave Mirra was one of the most accomplished BMX freestyle riders of all time. He medaled in the X Games every year from 1995 – 2008 and won 14 gold medals during his professional career. Mirra held the all-time X Games medals crown, with 24 career medals, up until 2013 when Bob Burnquist surpassed him.
Some of you out there may know him as the host of MTV’s Real World/Road Rules Challenge and from the two video games that bared his name. He was only one of two extreme athletes, pro-skater Shaun White being the other, to win multiple gold medals over three X Games. Dave Mirra also shares a spotlight with Tony Hawk and Joe Parsons as the fastest athletes to win 14 X Games medals; all of which accomplished the task in eight appearances. In 2005 Dave Mirra also won the Best Male Action Sports Athlete ESPY Award.
In a statement made by ESPN they said of Mirra:
“Dave Mirra, your courage, determination and natural skill in everything you pursued pushed the world of action sports to become a better place. From all of us at X Games and ESPN, we salute your contributions. Our sincere condolences go out to Dave’s wife, Lauren, his daughters Mackenzie and Madison, the BMX community and friends of Dave Mirra.”
Mirra grew up in Chittenango, New York where he was discovered by the Haro Bikes BMX team in the summer of 1987 and a week later was signed to the team. He quickly became a standout and as his skills continued to develop he excelled at both flatland and ramp riding – this a rarity in the arena of BMX.
He became a professional rider under Hoffman Bikes. Dave Mirra was a driving force of innovation within the BMX community and his joy of competition drove him to become one of the top ramp and street professional BMX riders.
He suffered a near-death experience is December of 1993 when he was hit by a drunk driver. he suffered a fractured shoulder, a blood clot on his brain, and fractured skull. Upon his recovery, Dave Mirra would sign a new deal with Haro Bicycles for sponsorship and a year later the Extreme Games arrived on the scene – his life and career were forever changed.
In the inaugural Extreme Games (1993), now referred to as the X Games, Mirra earned a silver medal in BMX Vert – after that, his name became synonymous with BMX riding all over the world. His success as a rider earned him numerous sponsorships, medals, and magazine covers.
This extreme sports great is also remembered, revered even, for landing the first double backflip in X Games history – consequently he won a gold medal for his performance. His career as a BMX rider continued into the mid-2000s.
After a successful BMX career he moved on to Rally Car racing, from 2008-2013, and even competed in the event for the X Games. He became a factory driver for Subaru Rally Team USA in 2012-2013; his career best was fourth place in the Global Rallycross Championship series in 2013.
Mirra, ever the athlete and competitor, accomplished the additional feat of becoming a triathlon competitor. He finished 109th in the 2015 Ironman in Lake Placid, New York – his overall time was 11:00:54.
Many thought that after the accomplishment of becoming a triathlete was achieved that he had turned his attention back to his first love of BMX riding. It is reported that he constructed a vert ramp in a warehouse in Greenville, NC where he had live since the 1990s.
The town of Greenville, North Carolina is now home to over twenty professional BMX riders – Mirra and Ryan Nyquist were among the first to make their homes there. The community of Greenville, his friends, and fans worldwide mourn his passing and offer our condolences to his family.
Dave Mirra has left a giant hole in the world of extreme sports and in the hearts of those who loved him.
Dave Mirra – Sentenced to Life