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BMX legend Dave Mirra commits Suicide

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dave mirraSource USA TODAY.
BMX legend Dave Mirra struggled with depression before he committed suicide, leading one government official to ask whether the repeated trauma Mirra suffered as an action sports athlete contributed to his death at age 41.

Greenville (N.C.) Police Chief Mark Holtzman told reporters at a news conference Friday that Mirra used his own handgun to inflict the lethal gunshot wound. Police found Mirra in his truck after the record-holder for the most X Games medals visited a friend where the two discussed future plans, Holtzman said.

“There is absolutely nothing that would lead us to believe this was an accident,” Holtzman said. “The detectives conducted interviews at the scene with several individuals, family members. Everything in this case points to a suicide.”

No suicide note was found at the scene, according to Holtzman.

Greenville mayor Allen Thomas mentioned at the news conference that Mirra — like many action sports stars — took several big hits in his career. He hinted that Mirra could have suffered from the debilitating brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which has affected numerous NFL players. Depression and lack of impulse control are a couple of the symptoms linked to CTE.

“This is young man that had a pretty had a pretty rugged sports career and took a lot of injuries in his career,” said Thomas, a friend of Mirra. “You have to give pause, think and wonder as we hear about brain trauma in football and other sports, whether that played a factor. I don’t know if that’s a case.

“I hope we solve this mystery like we did with Junior Seau and others, and learn from this.”

Seau, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year and played in the NFL for 20 seasons, committed suicide in 2012. His brain was found to have CTE.

Thomas said nothing stood out when he recently spoke with Mirra.

“It was just the normal Dave conversation,” Thomas said. “He had the normal energy and excitement. There was no indication. It was just a normal conversation about things he wanted to do going forward in his life. That’s why this is tough to process.”

Steve Astephen, a longtime family friend and Mirra’s agent, released a statement on behalf of the Mirra family:

“Dave’s wife and family are shocked and saddened by the loss of such a remarkable person whom they loved so deeply. Thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers and for respecting their privacy through this difficult time.”