Former U.S. Olympic bobsledder Pavle Jovanovic has died of apparent suicide. He was 43.
The Olympic star’s death by suicide was confirmed by the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation team. They released a statement about his death, according to People magazine in a piece published Monday. (RELATED: Legendary Comic Don Rickles Died At Age 90)
“The winter sports community has suffered a tragic loss,” USA Bobsled/Skeleton CEO and former teammate of Jovanovic Aron McGuire shared in a statement to the outlet. (RELATED: Hollywood Reacts To Death Of Legendary Actress Doris Day)
Pavle Jovanovic was the hardest working athlete I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He made everyone around him better. Thank you Pavle for making me better. I’m sending love and condolences to the Jovanovic family. What a tremendous loss https://t.co/GJ70PIHaz7
— Todd Hays (@ToddDHays) May 10, 2020
“Pavle’s passion and commitment towards bobsled was seen and felt by his teammates, coaches, competitors, and fans of the sport,” he added.
McGuire continued, saying Pavle “lived life to the fullest and had a lasting influence on all those who had the opportunity to spend time with him.”
“Whether Pavle was pushing his teammates to be their best on the track and in the weight room, or brining laughter to friends, he was known for always giving 100% on everything that he focused on,” McGuire’s statement went on. “Pavle’s impact on each of us will be remembered and celebrated.”
The Olympic bobsledder was from Tom’s River, New Jersey, and got his start in sledding in 1997. He would later score his first bronze medal at the World Championships in 2004. In 2006, Jovanovic finished in seventh place in both two-and four-man events at the Olympics with driver Todd Hays.
Fellow teammates shared touching tributes to the sledder, including one from former U.S. bobsled coach Greg Sand.
“We lost another great one in sliding sport this past week,” Sand wrote in an Instagram post. “Pavle was what you might imagine a Rottweiler in human form to be; tough as nails, built like a brick shit house, and a work ethic forged by his family’s steele fabrication business.”
“If you were going into the battle of competition, Pav was one of those athletes you wanted on your side,” he added. “His low baritone ‘YO!’ could light up a room as he slightly embellished stories on tour.”
Sand continued, admitting he will never forget Pavle giving him “shit, and maybe embellishing a little bit, the one time I had to actually push in a WC race heat at Königssee in his sled (definitely NOT our first choice).”
“I can hear him now laughing and ribbing me about ‘going deeeeep’ (in his Jersey baritone)… although, I’m pretty sure he was just ecstatic I got in the damn sled lol,” Sand went on. “If there was ever a bobsledder born to push heavy objects, man it was Pavle. Pavle was definitely a one of a kind original. YO… RIP brother!”