(NEW YORK) — Kelly Catlin, a 23-year-old racing cyclist and Olympic silver medalist who was getting her master’s degree in computational and mathematician engineering at Stanford University, took her own life last week.
Her father, Mark Catlin, confirmed her death to VeloNews, a cycling publication.
“There isn’t a minute that goes by that we don’t think of her and think of the wonderful life she could have lived,” Mark Catlin wrote in a letter to VeloNews. “There isn’t a second in which we wouldn’t freely give our lives in exchange for hers. The hurt is unbelievable.”
USA Cycling called Catlin’s death an “immense” and “devastating” loss.
Catlin wrote a column just last month for VeloNews in which she described the struggle of being both a graduate student and a world-class cyclist. She wrote that she had just started learning “slowly and painfully” the lesson of asking for help “when you need it.”
“As athletes, we are all socially programmed to be stoic with our pain, to bear our burdens and not complain, even when such stoicism reaches the point of stupidity and those burdens begin to damage us,” she wrote. “These are hard habits to break.”
The Olympian’s death at age 23, as she appeared to be at the top of her game both physically and mentally, has put an important spotlight on suicide and its sobering statistics.
Suicide is one of the 10 leading causes of death in the U.S. Suicide rates have been on the rise in the U.S. since 2006. Among women, the suicide rate increased by a staggering 50 percent between 2000 and 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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