BMX legend Dave Mirra shot himself in his pickup truck parked outside his best friend’s home as puzzled sources reveal he had been making plans for the future
- Dave Mirra committed suicide in his truck, which was parked in his best friend Scott Ashton’s driveway in Greenville, North Carolina
- The 41-year-old BMX legend, who served as a mentor to Ashton’s 10-year-old son, had just visited his friend
- Mirra would have celebrated his 10th wedding anniversary on February 18
- A police source said: ‘If anything, he was making plans for the future’
- Residents of his hometown paid tribute to Mirra, who helped put Greenville on the map as ‘BMX Pro Town USA’
Bmx legend Dave Mirra took his own life within days of his 10th wedding anniversary while parked outside the home of his best friend, Daily Mail.com can reveal.
An hour before dying from a self-inflicted gunshot wound the 41-year-old posted a poignant photo and message about his wife Lauren.
Under a photo of a smiling Lauren, he wrote: ‘My rock. Thank God!!’
The couple would have celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary on February 18th having married in 2006 in Napa, California.
Shocked friends in his hometown of Greenville, North Carolina, said the sportsman had shown no outward signs of being depressed.
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BMX legend Dave Mirra died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Thursday while visiting his family in Greenville, North Carolina.
Mirra, who would have celebrated his 10th wedding anniversary with wife Lauren (above photo) on February 18, posted this Instagram photo an hour before he shot himself. The caption read: ”My rock. Thank God!!’
Mirra shot himself in the head after spending time chatting to best friend Scott Ashton (right side above) at his home in Greenville, North Carolina. Pictured, Ashton with his 10-year-old son Julian (left), who was Mirra’s mentee due to his interest in dirt bikes and snowboarding
Mirra was found dead in the driver’s seat of his black pickup truck, which was still parked in Ashton’s driveway. He leaves behind a wife and two daughters
One told Daily Mail.com Mirra had been talking about going away with a group of friends for a ‘boy’s weekend’ to Florida.
And hours before his death he had also talked to the town’s mayor about getting more children involved in cycling.
‘It just does not make any sense that he would do this,’ said a friend who asked not to be named.
‘He adored his wife Lauren and his two girls. Anyone who knew Dave would say that he was the most devoted husband and doted on the girls. They were his life. It just does not make sense.’
Mirra was found dead just after 4 pm on Thursday sitting in the driver’s seat of his black pickup truck.
It was parked in the driveway of long standing friend Scott Ashton.
Mirra had shot himself in the head after spending time chatting to Scott, 41, at his home in Greenville, North Carolina.
Police sources said Ashton told investigators Mirra gave no indication that he was planning to take his own life.
‘If anything he was making plans for the future,’ said a police source.
‘The person he visited is as shocked as anyone as to what happened.’
Ashton told police he and Mirra had been planning to go out after his visit.
Instead, Mirra went to his vehicle and shot himself.
Neighbors were unaware what happened until police cars converged on the road.
Greenville Police spokesman Kristen Hunter told Daily Mail.com that Mirra did not leave a suicide note.
She also said he used a handgun that was licensed and registered to the athlete.
She said an investigation at the scene determined Mirra’s death as a suicide.
‘Suicide is a personal matter, and we intend to keep it that way,’ she said.
Greenville Police chief Mark Holtzman said from interviews with his family it was apparent Mirra had personal issues.
‘It was apparent he had been struggling,’ he said.
Friends told Daily Mail.com the record-breaking sportsman had been a mentor to Scott’s 10-year-old son Julian.
Mirra, who helped popularize the sport of BMX bike riding in the US and worldwide, had been encouraging the young boy with his love of the sport that brought him fame and fortune.
Photos on the youngster’s Instagram account show the boy with Mirra accompanied by encouraging messages.
Ashton is no longer at the home where the suicide took place having temporarily moved out to stay with friends.
His mother Sandy told Daily Mail.com her son would be devastated by the death of his best friend.
‘Scott and Dave were close. They were best friends. I have been trying to contact him to speak with him, but he is not answering his phone,’ said Sandy from her home in Arizona.
‘It is so tragic. I know Scott and Dave talked all the time and he gave advice to my grandson Julian.’
With no suicide note, friends of Mirra have been left puzzled why he would choose to take his own life.
He was financially stable and owned two other properties in Greenville and appeared in robust health.
A clue to his state of mind could come from a posting on his Instagram page the day before he died.
Accompanying a photo of him boxing Mirra wrote ‘Fight to win! We have all battles to fight. Never back down. Love you all #diewithyourbootson’
Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas has suggested that Mirra could have been suffering from a brain injury that caused him to be depressed.
Thomas, who met and talked with Mirra just hours before his death, suggested head injuries sustained during his years of BMX riding may have had an adverse effect on his mental health.
Mirra also suffered serious injuries in 1993 when a drunk driver hit him. He reportedly suffered a fractured skull, concussion, and a blot.
The injuries were so serious they threatened to ruin his career before it had even taken off.
Mayor Thomas suggested injuries caused by falling off his BMX bike while performing aerial stunts could have been a cause.
The condition CTE has been in the spotlight lately, with many researchers looking into whether there’s a connection between head injuries sustained in sports like football with issues like depression and dementia.
Depression is a symptom of CTE and multiple football players who have committed suicide have been diagnosed with CTE posthumously.
The disease can only be diagnosed during an autopsy.
‘This is a young man…that had a pretty rugged sports career and took a lot of injuries,’ said Mayor Allen Thomas.
‘You have to give pause and think and wonder, just as we hear about brain trauma in football and other sports and activities, whether that played a factor.’
He added:’ I hope we are able to solve that mystery.’
Mirra’s widow Lauren,32, and his two daughters Mackenzie and Madison remained at their futuristic home overlooking a lake on the outskirts of Greenville.
Lauren, a yoga teacher, has not made any public comment since her husband’s death.
But a statement issued on her behalf by his agent Stephen Astephen said: ‘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.’
Mirra’s death has stunned the community of Greenville where most sports fans were preparing for the Carolina Panthers match in the Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos.
At the Backdoor Skateshop, a tribute had been written on the front window.
The hastily written sign said: ‘RIP Dave Mirra. The world lost an icon, Greenville lost a friend.’
At the nearby Jaycee Skate Park, a solitary bunch of flowers had been tucked into a wire mess fence.
The tribute said: ‘Thx 4 UR life. We will never forget. We will pray for your wife and kids.’
In the biting cold wind, five youths raced up and down the ramps performing the sort of stunts that helped make Mirra famous.
Logan Place, 19, said Mirra was a hero to many in the town.
He said: ‘By the time I took up BMX riding he had retired from the sport but he was such a well-known name. Everyone knew Dave Mirra was from Greenville.
‘It is such a waste that he has gone. I did not see him at the park but I’m told he was instrumental in helping it expand.’
Mirra’s prowess as a champion helped Greenville be named as ‘BMX Pro Town USA’ because as many as 20 riders made their home there.
John Babies, who runs a local bike shop, said Mirra was always willing to talk with young riders and encourage them in the sport.
He also agreed to lie down on the ground and have riders jump over him when Babies Bike’s held an open day in 2010.
‘Dave was just a very kind man who would do anything to help,’ said John Babbit.
‘I wasn’t a good friend but knew him well enough. I had no idea if was depressed and if he was then he hid it very well.’
John recalled how he came across Mirra in 2014 while he was training for marathon bike ride.
‘He was by the side of the road with a flat tire,’ he said.
‘I stopped to see if I could help and he just picked up and threw his $10,000 bike into the back of the pickup truck. He was very grateful for the ride.’
Mirra, who was born in New York, began his career at the age of 13.
In 1992 after graduating from high school he turned pro and quickly established himself as one of the sport’s most spectacular riders.
He became the most decorated X Games BMX rider of all time with more than 20 medals.
In 2000 he became the first park rider to land a double backflip in competition.
Mirra retired from the sport in 2009 and was one of the best-known names in the sport.
Such was his fame he had a Sony Play station game was created based on his tournament exploits.
‘Dave Mirra BMX Freestyle’ was a huge seller and further enhanced his reputation,
Fans outside the sport knew him when he hosted two seasons of Real World/Road Rules Challenge in the early 2000s at the height of the program’s popularity.
He hosted The Inferno season in 2004 and then, in 2005, The Inferno II season.
Mirra also appeared on MTV’s Punk’d around this time in an episode where host Ashton Kutcher led him to believe that he had been accused of fraud by the IRS.
In recent years he had continued to compete, this time in Iron Mans and long-distance bike races.
His death shocked fellow riders and others connected to the sport.
‘I’m in complete shock. Angry, heartbroken and just sad at the passing of my friend Dave. Heart broke 4 his daughters and wife,’ wrote a friend and fellow BMX rider, Carey Hart.
Tony Hawk, perhaps the most famous former pro-skateboarder, wrote: ‘Goodbye Dave Mirra, a true pioneer, icon, and legend. Thank you for the memories… we are heartbroken.’
‘Words can’t explain how much I love these guys. Very sad day for myself and the entire Bmx community Gods speed,’ said Tim ‘Fuzzy’ Hall.
Shocked fans wrote messages on Mirra’s Facebook page.
While most expressed their shock and sorrow others posted messages accusing Mirra of being selfish to his family for taking his life.
A post by Matt Clark read: ‘You’re a pussy for going the way you did. A selfish move for what is left behind. But dammit dude you were such an inspiration to me growing up and who’s next to die from suicide? Tony Hawk?’
Most of those writing on his page spoken of their loss.
Jesse Andrews wrote: ‘Be at peace Dave. You were such an inspiration to so many. You will be missed by all of us.
I hope your family finds a way to find peace eventually but for now, we mourn with them.’
And Aron Mireault wrote: ‘Rest In Peace Dave Mirra, you were an idol and an amazing athlete. Hope all those demons disappeared and you are in a better place