Tributes have poured in from around the world for Australian snowboarding icon Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin, who died on Wednesday, aged 32.
Pullin died after he was believed to have suffered a shallow-water blackout while spear fishing near Palm Beach, off the Gold Coast in Queensland on Wednesday morning.
The 32-year-old, who was a triple world champion, was the flag bearer for Australia at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Snow Australia says the community is shocked and saddened by the triple Olympian's passing.
“Our deepest condolences are with Alex's family, as well as his teammates and support staff,” they said in a statement.
“Alex was a beloved member of the Snow Australia community and he will be dearly missed.”
Australian Winter Olympics legend Stephen Bradbury was among the first to pay tribute to Pullin.
The 2002 Winter Olympic gold medallist said Pullin became a friend to everyone he met - a rare trait for an elite athlete.
“The world will miss such a talented human and a double world champion without ego and without selfishness who is everyone's best mate - which isn't always the case with elite athletes,” Bradbury told news website InQueensland.
“He was bound to be a positive influence on winter sports into the future and will be sorely missed.”
Fans shattered by news of Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin’s death
Tributes to Pullin quickly flowed on social media as well, once news of the 32-year-old’s tragic death was confirmed.
Many were heartbroken to lose an icon of the sport, someone many believed had potential to bring further Olympic glory to Australia.
Fellow Winter Olympian, boarder cross rider Jarryd Hughes, said it had been an honour to be a teammate of Pullin’s.
“Extremely shocked and saddened to hear the news of Chumpy’s passing,” Hughes wrote on Twitter.
“Chumpy was a huge part of the Australian Winter team and will be sorely missed.
“It was an honour to be teammates and have raced alongside you. Sending my condolences to his family, friends and loved ones. RIP.”
Many other Australian athletes also took to social media to express their condolences.
💚💛 Vale @chumpypullin 💚💛
Three-time Olympian, Australian Flagbearer at Sochi 2014 and two-time World Champion. An incredible athlete, beloved teammate and role model, you will be sorely missed.
Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/co9vxaQVdW
— AUS Olympic Team (@AUSOlympicTeam) July 8, 2020
I can’t believe this terrible news - one of the nicest humans I’ve ever met -very sad news condolences to the friends and family of Alex Chumpy Pullin what a tragedy way to young 2020 can you please be over 🥺🙌🏿 #RIP https://t.co/WHWMVKvn8f
— Wendell Sailor (@RealBigDell) July 8, 2020
Oh no please say the news about Chumpy Pullin is not true... #favwinterolympian
— Tamsyn Lewis Manou (@tamsynlewis) July 8, 2020
Ahhh gutted about Alex 'Chumpy' Pullin. Used to get my snowboard tuned in his family's shop outside Mt Buller. Awesome rider, seemed like a lovely man. RIP.
— David Milner (@DaveMilbo) July 8, 2020
My little boy with #Chumpy at @_hotham last year. Alex loved the kids and was so generous with his time. My deepest sympathy to his relatives and friends and the entire Aussie snowboarding family. What a shocking loss. pic.twitter.com/Uosc80hD81
— Kellie Lazzaro (@kellazzaro) July 8, 2020