Shawn Barber, Canada’s pole-vaulting record holder and 2015 world champion, has passed away unexpectedly at the age of 29.
Barber died Wednesday at his home in Kingwood, Texas, his agent, Paul Doyle, confirmed in a statement to the Associated Press. A cause of death has not yet been revealed, though the report noted that Barber was dealing with medical issues.
Canadian world champion pole vaulter Shawn Barber dies at 29 from medical complications https://t.co/ybjAUIO7qt
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 19, 2024
“More than just an incredible athlete, Shawn was such a good-hearted person that always put others ahead of himself,” Doyle said Thursday. “It’s tragic to lose such a good person at such a young age.”
Barber was a world-class pole vaulter at the University of Akron, where he secured back-to-back NCAA indoor championships in 2014 and 2015. He went on to win the outdoor NCAA title as well in 2015 before winning a gold medal that summer at the Pan-Am Games.
Barber continued his run on the world stage that season in Beijing, where he won a gold medal over Germany’s Raphael Marcel Holzdeppe.
Just a year later, Barber competed in the summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, where he reached the finals before ultimately coming up short against Brazil’s Thiago Baz.
The world champion’s best vault was measured at six meters (19 feet, 8 ¼ inches) on Jan. 15, 2016 during a competition in Reno, Nevada. The vault still maintains the record in Canada.