Marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum has died aged 24, according to foreign media outlets.
Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana, died in a traffic accident on Monday, Bizna Keyna reported.
According to Nation, the Kenyan sporting hero was behind the wheel of a Toyota Premio with Hakizimana and a woman identified as Sharon Kosgey.
Kiptum reportedly lost control of the vehicle, sending it off the road and landing in a ditch before hitting a tree.
Ms Kosgey reportedly survived the crash and was rushed to Racecourse Hospital.
Just last year, Kiptum shattered the men’s world record to win the Chicago Marathon in two hours and 35 seconds.
Kiptum crushed the old world record of 2:01:09 set by Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge in winning the 2022 Berlin Marathon.
Kiptum’s run marked the third time a men’s world record had been set on the streets of Chicago but the first time since Morocco’s Khalid Khannouchi in 1999.
Kiptum reached the halfway mark in 1:00:48, just off world-record pace, and Kiptum pulled away from Mateiko with a 4:21 time in his 20th mile then reached 40km at 30 seconds under world-record pace, setting the stage for history.
His death came just five days after World Athletics ratified his world record.
He was also preparing to take the 2024 Olympics by storm after being picked in the Kenyan team for Paris.
The sporting world has begun to react to the tragic news, with Kenyans feeling the most grief having lost a national hero at such a young age.
Politicians from the nation have paid their respects online, while fans of the sport sit in shock at the unexpected news.
President of World Athletics Sebastian Coe said the runner leaves behind a strong legacy following his incredible rise through the sport.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana,” Coe posted on social media.
“On behalf of all World Athletics we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation.
“It was only earlier this week in Chicago, the place where Kelvin set his extraordinary marathon World Record, that I was able to officially ratify his historic time.
“An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly.”