Olympic Bronze Medalist Figure Skater Denis Ten Killed in Stabbing

Denis Ten, the first figure skater from Kazakhstan to win an Olympic medal, has been killed in what authorities are calling murder. He was 25.

Kazakh news agency Kazinform reported that Ten died after he was stabbed when two men attempted to steal his car mirrors in the country's largest city, Almaty. After pedestrians reportedly found him unconscious on the street, he was rushed to a hospital where he underwent surgery — but he died around 3 p.m. local time on Thursday.

"Denis Ten was an incredible figure skater, the legend of our sport, our pride," said Arystanbek Mukhamediuly, Kazakhstan's minister of culture and sport, according to The Guardian. "This is an unthinkable tragedy and irreparable loss."

Born in Kazakhstan to a family of Korean descent, Ten won bronze at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, becoming Kazakhstan's first skater to ever win a medal. He spoke about how much the Olympic medal meant to him, to his country and to those close to him.

"It was a great surprise. It was a first [Olympic figure skating ] medal for my country," he said in 2015. "I'm grateful to people, they still congratulate me ... Mostly I was happy for my parents and for my coaches who were so supportive despite all the challenges we had to overcome."

Ten won silver and bronze at the 2013 and 2015 world championships, respectively, and finished 27th at this year's Olympics in South Korea after a season dotted with injuries.

"The ISU is deeply saddened by the news from media in Kazakhstan announcing the passing of Figure Skater Denis Ten," the International Skating Union said in a statement on Thursday. "Our heartfelt condolences go out to Denis' family, friends and fans across the world."

American Olympic skater Adam Rippon took to social media Wednesday honor Ten's legacy in an emotional tribute. "My skating friend [Denis Ten] passed away today," Rippon wrote on Twitter. "He was so kind to everyone and a huge inspiration to me and so many other people. Murdered in the streets of Kazakhstan. Denis, thank you for showing us how to be a champion. Your time with us was way too short. Love you forever."


Another American Olympic skater, Mirai Nagasu, who won bronze at this year's Olympics and was Ten's former training partner, said the news was tough to hear. "The news of @Tenis_Den 's murder hits especially hard for me since I used to train with him. His commitment to his training was something I always admired. It's hard to believe he is no longer with us and that he'll no longer be able to share his talents with us," she wrote.

Olympic champion Meryl Davis also sent her condolences via Twitter. "So very saddened by the loss of this special young man," she wrote. "Denis, your heart, passion, kindness & generosity will not be forgotten. My thoughts are with your family, friends & fans whose lives you've made brighter. What a devastating loss for our skating family."