- (Photo: Reuters)
U.S. Olympic BMX cyclist Kyle Bennett has died in a single-car accident in his native Conroe, Texas on Sunday.
The 3-time BMX world champion and member of the first-ever U.S. BMX Olympic team in 2008 was 33 at the time of his death.
The fatal wreck occurred at 2:16 a.m. on Sunday, according to The Montgomery County Police Reporter. It involved Bennett's 2006 Toyota Tundra, and as the cyclist was traveling at a high speed, the vehicle left the road and hit a ditch and an iron gate.
Bennett was pronounced dead at the scene. He was not wearing a seat belt, reported the paper.
Bennett was recently inducted into the BMX Hall of Fame as the team captain of the first Olympic team at the 2008s Olympics in Beijing.
"All of us at USA Cycling were deeply saddened to learn this morning of the tragic and untimely loss of Kyle Bennett," Steve Johnson, USA Cycling CEO, said in a statement. "Kyle was a pioneer in Olympic BMX and an inspiration to those of us that knew him. He will be sorely missed, and we offer our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones."
Adding his condolences, family friend Keith Arnst told The Houston Chronicle that Bennett was a local hero.
"He made it big-time and made good money and a great living, but he never forgot where he came from," said Arnst, who formerly owned Armadillo BMX South of Conroe.
Fans of Bennett and fellow bikers expressed their grief over his death on social media sites, including Twitter.
Cyclist Aaron Ross posted, "Kyle Bennett will never be forgotten. Ever."
He later added, "Rest in peace Kyle 'Butter' Bennett #88"
"Kyle Bennett.. RIP," wrote Tilly's company. A true BMX legend #rip #bmx"
"Really bummed to hear we lost BMX'er, gold medalist, hometown hero Kyle Bennett in a car accident Sunday," wrote Colin. "33 years old… Sad news."
BMX cyclist Chase Hawk wrote, "Kyle Bennett was honestly the first rider I ever started to look up to,my heart goes out to his family and friends I will never forget KB."
Another cyclist, Brandon Dosch, added, "I'm so bummed to hear BMX lost a legend today. Kyle Bennett was my fav rider to watch as a kid," and included a photo.
Bennett leaves behind his fiancée and his daughter, Kylie.