French triathlete and coach Laurent Vidal died last night at his home in southern France at age 31, and the triathlon world is sad and shocked.
According to French newspaper Midi Libre rescuers were called to the home of Vidal and found him in cardiac arrest. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.
Vidal, who is the boyfriend and coach of Kiwi triathlete Andrea Hewitt, was forced to retire from competition after a scary episode in April of 2014 when he had a heart attack during swim practice and was subsequently airlifted to a hospital in Montpellier, France. Vidal, who finished 5th at the Olympic Games in London, then focused on coaching Hewitt, and the fast Kiwi was with him at the time of his death according to news sources.
As friends, fellow athletes and people who knew him from around the world are awaking to this terrible news, shock and sadness is spreading.
"Can't believe this. Thoughts and prayers with @andreahewittnz and the family of Laurent Vidal. You will be missed man. Rest easy." tweeted Terenzo Bozzone.
"We've lost an amazing person that I had the privilege to call a friend. So many memories. Thoughts are with Andrea & his family. RIP Laurent" said Javier Gomez on Twitter.
"It's hard to actually believe this terrible news. So much sympathy and love to Andrea, Laurent's family and friends. Gone but not forgotten," added Vicky Holland via Twitter.
"Sitting in the air New Zealand lounge with Tom Davidson and James Elvery who within 5hrs of hearing of Laurent Vidal's passing are flying up to France to be there, James is trying to find tickets from London to Sete before he hops on the plane in the next 15mins for the next 25hrs, safe travels boys, Laurent had some fantastic friends and there will be some great stories told this week of all the fun they had with him. RIP Laurent," shared Cameron Brown on Facebook.