Family of Olympic Cyclist Kelly Catlin Speaks out After Her Death

The family of US Olympic cyclist Kelly Catlin is mourning following her death at the age of 23.

Catlin, who won the silver medal in women's cycling team pursuit at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics for Team USA, was found dead in her Stanford University campus residence on Friday. Speaking to PEOPLE, her family called her death "a loss to the world."

"She had such a bright future. She was so multi-talented," Catlin's father, Mark Catlin, told the outlet. "There was so much about life that she enjoyed and this was such a temporary setback that she couldn't see through. It's such a loss to the world and a loss to her that she's gonna miss so many good things. She had so much to look forward to. Now it's not gonna happen."

Catlin's death has since been ruled suicide by asphyxia, the Santa Clara Medical Examiner confirmed. In the weeks leading up to her death, the Olympic medalist's family said she had been battling mental health issues and had spiraled into a deep depression, something that started back in December after she suffered a concussion.

"My wife and I talked to her weekly on the phone and she started to express apathy about cycling, which she'd never done before," Catlin's father, Mark, told the outlet. "She had a lack of enthusiasm for the Olympic team, for training, for everything in life. We were concerned. She ran herself down. The concussion had a profound impact on her. She had these mental issues and she started to feel trapped."

According to her family, the Olympic athlete had attempted suicide in January, sending a note to friends and family via email in which she said "she had been having racing thoughts and her mind wasn't working the way it used to" and described "being tortured mentally by not being able to do what she used to do."

Catlin sought treatment for both her physical and mental health and returned to school two weeks later. In the weeks that followed, her parents spoke to the medalist frequently and said that her mental health seemed to be improving, though she had stopped answering the phone in the week leading up to her death.

"We had been worried because [Kelly] hadn't answered the phone in, like, a week," her sister, Christine, said, adding that she learned of her sister's death as she was biking. "When my mom called me I was hyperventilating and crying. I've been numb ever since."


Along with being a track cyclist and professional road cyclist, Catlin had been pursuing a graduate degree in Computational Mathematics.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).