Shawn Barber, the Canadian athlete who held the record for pole vaulting and was crowned world champion in 2015, passed away at the age of 29 due to medical issues.
Paul Doyle, Barber’s agent, confirmed to CBS News that Barber passed away at his residence in Kingwood, Texas on Wednesday. The cause of death is currently unknown, but Barber had been facing health problems.
Doyle stated on Thursday that Shawn was not only an exceptional athlete, but also a kind-hearted individual who always prioritized others before himself. It is truly devastating to lose someone of such great character at such a young age.
In 2014 and 2015, at the University of Akron, he achieved consecutive NCAA indoor titles. He also secured the NCAA outdoor championship in 2015 and then went on to win gold at the Pan-Am Games later that summer. This successful streak continued at the world championships in Beijing, where he claimed first place over Germany’s Raphael Marcel Holzdeppe.
One year later, Barber competed in the pole vault event at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics where he placed second behind Thiago Braz of Brazil.
On January 15, 2016, in Reno, Nevada, Barber achieved his highest vault of six meters (19 feet, 8 ¼ inches), which still stands as the Canadian record.
His mother, Ann; father, George; and brother, David, are the surviving family members.
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