Pole Vault World Champion Shawn Barber Dead at 29

Shawn Barber, a pole vault world champion, has died. He was 29.

His Agent, Paul Doyle, told the Associated Press that he died at his home in Kingwood, Texas, on Wednesday. While a cause of death was not revealed, Barber had been experiencing some health issues, according to the outlet.

His management agency confirmed the news in an Instagram post on Thursday that read, “A friend that will never be forgotten. Canadian Olympic Pole Vaulter Shawn Barber has passed away. 🕊️.”

Doyle Management expressed that he will be greatly missed and listed some of his accomplishments, including winning the pole vault world championship in 2015. The win earned Canada its first-ever world pole vault medal and was the country’s first athletics world title in 12 years, according to CTV News.

Shawn Barber.

Dan Mullan/Getty

Barber was also a student-athlete at the University of Akron, with multiple titles to his name, including 2014 and 2015 NCAA Indoor Pole Vault Champion and 2015 NCAA Outdoor Pole Vault Champion.

He became a 2015 Pan American Games Gold Medalist and was a finalist at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro. Barber’s best vault was six meters, which he obtained on Jan. 15, 2016, in Reno, Nevada, and remains the Canadian record, per the Associated Press.

According to CTV News, Barber was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and held dual Canadian-American citizenship. His father, George, was born in Ontario, Canada, and competed for Canada in the pole vault at the 1983 world championships.

Athletics Canada, the national sport governing body for track and field, honored his accomplishment on X, formerly known as Twitter, writing, “Our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Shawn Barber, Canadian Pole Vaulter – 2015 World Champion, Rio 2016 Olympian and Canadian Record Holder.”

Shawn Barber at the at Oregon Convention Center on March 17, 2016 in Portland, Oregon.

Christian Petersen/Getty

“More than just an incredible athlete, Shawn was such a good-hearted person that always put others ahead of himself. It’s tragic to lose such a good person at such a young age,” Doyle told the Associated Press.

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Barber is survived by his father, mother Ann, and brother, David, per the Associated Press.

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