Reaction to BMX icon Dave Mirra's life & tragic death

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GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) Greenville police say BMX icon Dave Mirra died Thursday in Greenville from an apparent suicide.

Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas and Greenville Police Chief Mark Holtzman spoke at a Friday morning press conference. You can watch the entire news conference by clicking the video with this story.

"Dave Mirra was more than just a sports figure... he's a loving member of this community, and that remains," Mayor Thomas said. Thomas called Mirra a warm and humble guy.

Mayor Thomas said he had a 20-minute conversation with Mirra outside a local restaurant just hours before his death. He said they talked and laughed, and Mirra had some exciting things he would like to plan for the kids in Greenville.

Thomas said this was a very difficult day for Greenville. He hoped out of this tragedy, "lives might be saved across this community."

The mayor said everyone is still trying to process this and hoped we can find some answers into why this happened. Thomas talked about the trauma from Mirra's years as an athlete in a very demanding sport and the possibility that could have had an impact in his death.

Thomas said while Mirra was known on the world stage, Mirra was to many in Greenville "just a dad, just a friend."

He thanked the media, the Greenville police and everyone involved for the way they've handled this.

"We love you Dave Mirra, we're going to miss you," Thomas said. "Your legacy will live on."

Friday afternoon, Mirra's agent issued a statement on behalf of the family. "Dave's wife and family are shocked and saddened by the loss of such a remarkable person whom they loved so deeply," said Steve Astephen. "Thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers and for respecting their privacy through this difficult time."

Greenville Police Chief Mark Holtzman also spoke. He said on the investigation side of things, the facts of the case haven't changed since yesterday.

Chief Holtzman said the friend Mirra had visited shortly before his death was just as shocked at Mirra's death, that Mirra had been making plans.

When asked if depression had been an issue, the chief said it was apparent Mirra had been struggling in areas such as that but that he didn't have any specifics.

Chief Holtzman said the Medical Examiner on scene said everything appeared to be consistent with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. It happened on Pinewood Road. He said Mirra was seated in his own truck and shot himself with his own handgun.

Chief Holtzman encouraged people to reach out for help if they need it. He said his department receives hundreds of the calls every year from people in crisis, and his department is there to help.

If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, you are encouraged to seek help through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-TALK.

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Greenville police say BMX icon Dave Mirra died Thursday in Greenville from an apparent suicide.

Upon arrival, officers say they discovered Dave Mirra, 41, of Greenville, sitting in a truck with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He had been visiting friends in the area a short time before the incident.

Considered an icon in the pro-BMX world, Mirra, was instrumental in bringing the sport to the City of Greenville, which now is home to more than 20 professional BMX riders. The record-holding athlete is survived by his wife and two children.

"We mourn the loss today of a great friend and wonderful human being who touched the lives of so many around the world with his gift. He called Greenville, North Carolina home and was as humble a guy talking with kids on a street corner about bikes as he was in his element on the world stage. A young life with so much to offer was taken too soon," said City of Greenville Mayor, Allen Thomas.

The Greenville Police Department will be handling the death investigation.

The family of Dave Mirra says it would appreciate privacy during this very difficult time.

On his Instagram account, there were two posts late today. One was a picture of Dave on a bike with the caption, "Rose High School, Greenville, NC.

A second picture was with his wife, with the caption, "My rock! Thank god."

A post on his account Wednesday said, "Fight to win! We all have a battles to fight. Never back down. Love you all. #diewithyourbootson"

If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, you are encouraged to seek help through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-TALK.

Dave Mirra bio from

"It is rare that an athlete truly transcends their sport, but BMX legend Dave Mirra has done just that – achieving iconic status not only in the world of BMX but in all of action sports and beyond. Winning more X Games gold medals than any other competitor in the history of the Games, his rise to the top has not been an easy one.

Riding the streets on his BMX bike with his older brother, Mirra was jumping curbs and flying over dirt jumps by the age of five. In 1992, after graduating from high school he turned pro and quickly overthrew Mat Hoffman as the undisputed vert champion. In 1993, a drunk driver struck Mirra and nearly ended his career, but since then Mirra has not only recovered and returned to his bike, he has become the most decorated X Games BMX rider of all time with more than 20 medals to his name.

In 2000, he became the first park rider to land a double backflip in competition, and has topped almost every major podium at least once. Initially competing in both the vert and park disciplines of the Dew Tour, Mirra finished fifth in the vert year-end standings on the 2005 Dew Tour, but was unable to finish out the ‘06 season after he lacerated his liver at the second stop of the Tour and he has not competed in vert since. His consistency in 2009 resulted in his best park finish on the Dew Tour circuit, taking second place overall after opening the Tour with a first-place finish at the Nike 6.0 BMX Open.

Holding nearly every accolade possible for a BMX or action sports athlete, Mirra has won everything from “Freestyler of The Year” by BMX Magazine to the ESPN Action Sports and Music Award for BMX Rider of the Year in 2000. After a brief stint hosting the popular MTV series “Real World/Road Rules Challenge,” Mirra and his wife settled down in Greenville, N.C., quickly making it the hub of the BMX world."

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