Ex-world record holder & Olympic gold winner ‘profoundly grief-stricken’ after American sprint champ son dies ‘in car park’ at 26

Ex-world record holder & Olympic gold winner ‘profoundly grief-stricken’ after American sprint champ son dies ‘in car park’ at 26

Two American Olympic gold medalists are mourning the loss of their son after he died at the age of 26 in an unexplained incident that has led to an "outpouring of prayers and support".

Cameron Burrell, a five-time gold medalist at top junior and senior competitions between 2011 and 2018, has died at the age of 26 in a tragedy that medical records reportedly show took place in a car park.

The college sprint star comes from a lineage of outstanding runners, with both of his parents, Leroy Burrell and Michelle Finn-Burrell, winning gold at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games.

“My family is extremely saddened with the loss of our son, Cameron," said Burrell's father, who the late athlete had emulated by winning honors in elite 4x100m relay races.

"We are going through profound sorrow and ask that all of our friends, extended University of Houston family and the track and field community in the US and abroad allow us to gather with our closest family and friends.

“We are profoundly grief-stricken and thank everyone for the outpouring of prayers and support. We will forward more information when it is available.”

The university, where Burrell is an alumni, said in a statement that it was "devastated" by his "unexpected passing".

"We offer our sincerest condolences and support to the Burrell family and all who knew him, including Cameron’s many friends, coaches and teammates,” bosses added.

Burrell also followed his aunt, Dawn, in pursuing elite long jumping, and his godfather was an Olympic legend – nine-time Games gold medalist Carl Lewis.

The hot prospect had broken the ten-second barrier for 100m during his sensational early career and had joined the university's Cougar team under the watch of his father acting as head coach.

“We had to have a few conversations about how to balance the coach-athlete relationship versus the father-son relationship," he told one of his backers, Red Bull.

"At times, we just had to put our personal feelings aside. It was trial and error, like any other coach and athlete. We found how to make the most out of it.”

On running 100m in 9.93 seconds in 2017, he said: “It took me three years but it was very rewarding at the end.

"I shaved off my dad’s school record by one millisecond, putting me as an all-time performer at the University of Houston.

"In a school that has been home to so many world champions and NCAA champions, it’s really a statement in itself – definitely one of my favourite moments."

Burrell's last major medal was 4x100m silver at the World Relays in Yokohama in 2019, a year after he took gold in the same discipline at the Athletics World Cup in London.

“When you win the relay, it’s for your team-mates," he said. "It might be the biggest meet of their life or the last.

"I could have all the medals in the world but if I can help somebody else get one too, that’s even better.

“I want to continue to progress, not just as an athlete but as a person. I have so much to look forward to.”

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