Officials suggest a brain injury may have caused Dave Mirra, an extreme sports star who also hosted two seasons of an MTV show, to commit suicide on Feb. 4 in North Carolina.
Police say Mirra, 41, shot himself in his car while visiting family in North Carolina, just after seeing a friend, Daily Mail reported.
Authorities reveal Mirra’s career in BMX racing may have adversely affected his mental health, possibly causing a head injury like Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
CTE is a degenerative disease only diagnosed during an autopsy. It is commonly found in athletes with a history of head trauma such as concussions. Symptoms can include depression, memory loss, dementia, and more.
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“This is a young man ... that had a pretty rugged sports career and took a lot of injuries," Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas, who had spoken to Mirra just a few hours before he died, said. “You have to give pause and think and wonder, just as we hear about brain trauma in football and other sports and activities, whether that played a factor.”
Loved ones and strangers alike mourned the loss of Mirra, who was also a husband and father to two daughters.
“I wish I could've picked up on something — anything, go back to Dave and just put an arm around him," Thomas said. "Say, 'look brother you have two beautiful girls who need you. Nothing is more important than that. We will get this figured out."'
Meanwhile, well-known names ranging from Tony Hawk to ESPN sent their condolences to Mirra's family.
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“Dave Mirra, your courage, determination and natural skill in everything you pursued pushed the world of action sports to become a better place," ESPN stated. "From all of us at X Games and ESPN, we salute your contributions. Our sincere condolences go out to Dave's wife, Lauren, his daughters Mackenzie and Madison, the BMX community and friends of Dave Mirra."
Only one day before he killed himself, Mirra posted a photo on Instagram of himself boxing with the caption: “Fight to win! We all have a battles to fight. Never back down. Love you all. #diewithyourbootson.”