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Germaine Mason's death stuns athletics world

Thursday, April 20, 2017

KINGSTON, Jamaica — News of the death of Olympic athlete Germaine Mason stunned the local and international athletics community, leading to an outpour of grief and condolences on social media.

Mason was heading home from a party about 4:20 this morning when he apparently lost control of his motorcycle, which ran off the roadway in East Kingston. The police said the 34-year-old retired high jumper was pronounced dead at hospital.

Mason, a former student of the Wolmer’s High School for Boys is the national record holder in the high jump event.

He was a part of the MVP track Club before switching allegiance in 2006 to represent Great Britain. 

As the tragic news broke, Prime Minister Andrew Holness expressed "sincere condolences to the entire sporting fraternity" in a message on Twitter.

"Germaine was an outstanding athlete and a truly lovely man. He had a wry sense of humour and was a pleasure to be around," said Fuzz Caan, a senior high jump coach at British Athletics who worked with Mason during his time as Olympic champion.

"He was a great ambassador of British high jumping. It is an honour for us to have him as part of our sporting history."

Mason, matched his personal best of 2.34m to claim silver at Beijing, one of a then-record 47 British Olympic medals taken in China.

"The whole of the British Olympic Association is incredibly sad to hear of the passing of Germaine Mason," said BOA chief executive Bill Sweeney. 

"Germaine was a great athlete, an Olympian and a silver medal-winning part of Team GB who made history at Beijing 2008. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends at this difficult time."

Other British athletics stars were stunned and saddened at the news.

"This is just awful. Such sad news," tweeted 2012 London Olympic and three-time world heptathlon champion Jess Ennis-Hill.

"Heart goes out to friends and family of Germaine Mason on this sad day," tweeted 1992 Barcelona Olympic 100m champion Linford Christie. "R I P Germaine. Never forgotten."

Denise Lewis, the 2000 Sydney Olympics heptathlon champion, tweeted, "My condolences and deepest sympathy go out to Germaine Mason's family & friends. A tragic loss of such fun & loving person."

Beijing Olympic 400m hurdles bronze medallist Tasha Danvers called it "a very sad day for track and field... He will missed."

The outpour of condolences from local and international parties continued on Facebook. Below are a few:

Dr Peter Phillips — Leader of the Opposition People’s National Party:
My most sincere condolences to the family, friends, fans and entire sporting industry, on the recent untimely death of Jamaica-born high jumper Germaine Mason who died tragically this morning . Germaine and his family remain in our prayers.

Miss Kitty, 'The Fluffy Diva' — media personality:
I would like to send my condolences to the family and friends of Germaine Mason, my thoughts and prayers are with you.
The Retired Jamaican-born British High Jumper died this morning in a motor vehicle; he was 34.
Mason holds the Jamaican high jump national record of 2.34m. In 2008 he won a silver medal in the high jump for Great Britain at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, after switching allegiance to represent that country in 2006.

Team GB:
So sad to have heard about Gernmaine’s death in a motorbike accident- such awful news. My prayers are with his family in this horrendous time.

European Athletics:

European Athletics is very saddened to learn of the death of British high jumper Germaine Mason at the age of 34. Rest in peace.

-- Additional Reporting AFP