Alex Quinonez, the World 200 metres bronze medallist, has been killed in Ecuador, his home country.
The 32-year-old finished third at the World Championships in Doha two years ago to become the first Ecuadorian athlete to win a global medal in a track event.
According to the BBC, Quinonez was shot along with another person outside a shopping centre in the city of Guayaquil on Friday night October 22.
The Ecuadorian sports ministry announced the news in a statement on its Twitter feed, saying: ‘Today we lost a great athlete, a person who made us dream, who made us excited.’
‘The National Police are at the scene and the authorities are conducting the corresponding investigations. He will forever remain in the hearts of all Ecuadorians,’ it added.
Ecuador’s president Guillermo Lasso tweeted: ‘We are very sorry for the painful loss of Alex Quinonez, father, son, a great sprinter who marked the sport. Our sincerest condolences to your loved ones. Rest in peace. Those who take the lives of Ecuadorians will not go unpunished. We will act forcefully.’
Ecuador’s Olympic Committee said in a statement that the circumstances surrounding the death had ‘not yet been clarified’.
Quinonez qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games but did not compete after being suspended for breaching the whereabouts rules.
News of the sprinter’s death came on the same day as the funeral of Kenyan distance star Agnes Tirop, who was killed earlier this month.