Dave Mirra was an icon and a trendsetter.
He was the reason little kids tried to create separation between a tire and the ground whenever they bounded over a hump while riding their bicycle. He was the man that made Haro Bikes a household name for any athlete that participated in a sport with wheels.
Mirra dominated the sport of BMX like no other, contorting his body and bicycle as if they were a symbiotic unit. He produced and performed seemingly impossible tricks no one had even fathomed. Because of that, he won 24 X Games medals, including 14 that were gold, and he influenced a generation of young athletes.
Many of those athletes that grew up watching Mirra as well as those that shared the courses and ramps with him took to social media to share their emotions after Mirra was found dead in his hometown of Greenville, N.C., on Thursday of an apparent suicide.
Two of the most prolific X Games athletes, Tony Hawk and Shaun White, recognized the genius of Mirra's work:
Goodbye Dave Mirra, a true pioneer, icon and legend. Thank you for the memories... we are heartbroken. pic.twitter.com/RHpTe7Qzwi— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) February 5, 2016
Reast In Peace @davemirra. A true legend and inspiration. My condolences to his friends and family...— Shaun White (@shaunwhite) February 5, 2016
Six-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson and motocross rider Carey Hart were shocked:
I'm in complete shock. Angry, heart broken and just sad at the passing of my friend Dave. Heart broken 4 his daughters and wife. #DaveMirra— Carey Hart (@hartluck) February 5, 2016
Waking up to the realization this morning that Dave is gone is absolutely heart breaking. I was telling my wife that most of the best memories from my career have Dave involved one way or another, and it's always a funny memory. Dave was such a genuine dude. He always had a smile on his face and cracking jokes, unless he was in contest mode. He was the fiercest competitor I have ever met. Unfortunately I haven't seen Dave much since he retired, but I guess that's what happens in life. Wish I had known something was wrong and he new he had some to talk to. I understand the battle w/ depression. I tame mine with therapy and family. Im mad as hell at you for doing this, and my heart absolutely shatters for your daughters and wife. But I will cherish our time together and the many good times we had. Ride in Paradise, Dime Bag. You will be greatly missed.
Extreme athletes of various action sports were somber over the news:
Rest in Peace Dave Mirra. Thank you for pushing the boundaries of what was possible. You are a legend.— Brian Kachinsky (@bkachinsky) February 5, 2016
Sadden by the news of the recent death of BMX Legend, Dave Mirra. May you rest in peace. ¿¿¿¿ pic.twitter.com/YpHO33EH4A— Levi LaVallee (@Levi_LaVallee) February 5, 2016
I always looked up to Dave mirra as a child, breaking bones to try the things he did on a bike he made me want to be a pro bmx rider.. #rip— Greg Bretz (@gregbretzz) February 5, 2016
So sad to hear about the loss of Dave Mirra. @davemirra such a huge part of action sports for so long #¿¿— Elena Hight (@Elenahight) February 5, 2016
Some athletes may have ended up in other sports, but reminisced about watching Mirra during their youth:
When I was a kid I would beg my parents to buy me a Haro because I wanted to be just like Dave Mirra...RIP to a huge part of my childhood.— Danny Burawa (@dannyburawa) February 5, 2016
I rode a Haro Bike because of Dave. We watched Albert Street a million times. This really shook me up. RIP man. https://t.co/VyXszhyWGN— Trevor Plouffe (@TPlouffe24) February 5, 2016
Celebrities also were Mirra fans:
I literally wanted to be Dave Mirra when I was a kid. That's awful man, so bummed to hear he passed away.— Josh Manuel (@JoshManuel) February 5, 2016
This guy made me want to ride half pipe on a bike. RIP Dave Mirra. You left a mark on me. MK. pic.twitter.com/zmnpIrIAOE— Nickelback (@Nickelback) February 5, 2016
There is no doubt that Mirra will be missed. He was 41.