World marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum has died at the age of 24 after being involved in a road accident in his home country of Kenya.
A third person involved is said to have been rushed to hospital, though their condition remains unclear.
He said: "Devastating news as we mourn the loss of a remarkable individual, Kelvin Kiptum, World Record holder and Kenyan athletics icon. Together with his coach, they tragically passed on in an accident tonight.
"My deepest condolences to his loved ones, friends, and the entire athletics fraternity. Our nation grieves the profound loss of a true hero."
Sports minister Ababu Namwamba also paid tribute to Kiptum, describing him as a 'special gem'.
He wrote in a social media post: "Devastatingly sickening! Kenya has lost a special gem. Lost for words."
The president of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe, also paid homage to the sports star and said he was 'shocked and deeply saddened' to learn of his passing.
He added: "An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly."
According to the Nation newspaper and wider reports, local county commander Peter Mulinge said that the vehicle Kiptum was in had lost control and smashed into a tree before ending up in a ditch.
Kiptum had made a name for himself as a gifted long-distance runner as well as busting world records.
He was the only person in history to run a marathon under two hours and one minute in a record-eligible race and incredibly ran three of the seven fastest marathons ever.
It was revealed just last week that the 24-year-old was gearing up to run the Rotterdam marathon in under two hours, which has never been done before during an open competition.Featured Image Credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images