Scottish mountain bike champion Rab Wardell died early Tuesday morning, just two days after winning a championship race in Scotland. He was 37.
His death was confirmed by the Scottish Cross Country Association.
“We are devastated to relay to you the tragic news that our friend, our Champion Rab Wardell has died overnight,” the group wrote on Facebook
Wardell’s partner, two-time Olympic champion Katie Archibald, said that he died after suffering cardiac arrest in bed.
Archibald, who won Olympic gold for Britain at track cycling at the 2016 and 2020 Olympics, shared a heartbreaking message on social media describing her desperate attempt to save him, and the realization that he had died.
“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,” the 28-year-old wrote on Twitter.
“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,” she added.
“Mine stopped with it. I love him so much and need him here with me. I need him here so badly, but he’s gone. I can’t describe this pain. Thank you to those making tributes. 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,” Archibald wrote.
According to the magazine Cycling, Wardell was also known as a great cycling coach who was always happy to provide tips for new riders.
On Sunday, Wardell won the elite men’s title at the Scottish MTB XC Championship despite having had three punctures.
The win was described as a “show of incredible resilience” by British Cycling, the governing body for the sport in Great Britain.