X Games Icon Dave Mirra Dead in Apparent Suicide

Dave Mirra, BMX Superstar and X Games pioneer, dies at 41 years of age


The BMX community lost one of its pioneers on Thursday.

David "Dave" Mirra, 41, died Thursday afternoon of an apparent suicide in Greenville, North Carolina, according to the Greenville Police Department.

Mirra's body was found inside a truck in his hometown of Greenville shortly after he visited friends in the area, Greenville police said.

Mirra held the record for most X Games medals, until he was surpassed by Bob Burnquist at X Games Munich during 2013. He medaled at every X Games since the annual event started in 1995 until 2008. Mirra nabbed 24 medals, 14 of them gold.

Mirra was recognized by the Haro Bikes BMX team during the summer of 1987 at just 13. He turned pro as a BMX rider five years later. He retired from BMX competition in 2011, tied for the record of fastest to win 14 X Games medals, along with Tony Hawk and Joe Parsons.

Mirra also hosted MTV's "Real World/Road Rules Challenge," and allowed his name to be used for two video games.

His impact to the sport is difficult to measure, though some have likened his clout to Michael Jordan and the NBA.

The main risk factors for suicide are depression, other mental disorders, family violence and substance abuse disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It is possible that Mirra's time with BMX contributed to taking his own life.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain disease found in boxers, football players and hockey players. CTE is widely believed to stem from repeated trauma to the head. Besides head trauma he endured during practice or competition, Mirra also had a fractured skull and a blood clot on the brain, after he was struck by a drunken driver in December of 1993.

The symptoms of CTE include memory loss, confusion, impaired judgement, impulse control problems, depression, aggression, anxiety, suicidality and dementia.

Mirra is survived by his wife and two children.