Former world-class road and mountain bike professional Steve Larsen collapsed and died during a training run on Tuesday, May 19, aged 39.

Larsen was running at a local track in Oregon when he suddenly collapsed. Initially a heart attack was suspected, by the exact cause of death has yet to be confirmed.

Larsen had a varied career in cycling, and was a well-known and much admired figure in US cycling. He was part of the Motorola and US national road squads in the early nineties, but it was in mountain biking that he was probably best known.

Larsen was the US NORBA (national MTB series) champion in 1998 and 2000, and was a regular on the international mountain bike World Cup circuit. He later switched to racing in triathlon events, where he also excelled. From 2003 he ran an estate agency, Steve Larsen Properties, in his hometown of Bend, Oregon. Larsen leaves a wife and five children.

Many current riders knew and were influenced by Larsen, and tributes have been posted by riders via Twitter.

Lance Armstrong, Astana

“So sad hearing about the loss of Steve Larsen. Leaves a wife and five kids. Terrible. He and I were on national team and Motorola together.”

Levi Leipheimer, Astana

“Heard this morning the tragic news of Steve Larsen passing away, didn’t want to believe it but unfortunately it’s true. Very sad news.”

Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Slipstream

“Just read about Steve Larsen. Thoughts are with his wife and family. He was one of my idols growing up.”