Olympian Shawn Barber Has Died Aged 29

Shawn Barber Dead: The Olympic pole vaulter has passed away, as confirmed by his agent.
Credit: Alamy

Olympic pole vaulter Shawn Barber has died aged 29 years old. 

Barber was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, but his father, George, was born in Ontario.

This meant Barber split his time between the USA and Canada, although it was Canada he eventually chose to represent in his sporting championships.

Barber started his career as a student-athlete at the University of Akron and he would go on to represent Canada at the Olympics.

But tragically, his agent has confirmed that he has passed away.

Related Article: Snoop Dogg’s Daughter, 24, Rushed To Hospital With ‘Severe’ Stroke

Related Article: Sinéad O’Connor’s Cause of Death Confirmed

Barber’s Agent, Paul Doyle, told the Associated Press that he died at his home in Kingwood, Texas, on Wednesday, January 17.

“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 added to AP.

The Olympian’s 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.”

His agency also drew attention to Barber’s huge athletic achievements, writing: “He is currently the Canadian record holder with his personal best of 6.00m and was the 2015 World Champion in the Pole Vault. Shawn was also an Olympic finalist at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.

“He will be greatly missed.”

Tributes for the sporting talent have come rolling in, with Athletics Canada writing on X, formerly Twitter: “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.”

World Athletics echoed the sentiment, adding: “Keep flying, Shawn. World Athletics is deeply saddened by the passing of Shawn Barber, the 2015 world pole vault champion. Condolences go out to his family, friends and fellow vaulters.”

Doyle also revealed to AP that Barber had been dealing with some health issues at the time of his passing.

No cause of death has been confirmed at this time.

While at the University of Akron, Barber won the 2014 and 2015 NCAA Indoor Pole Vault Champion titles, making him the first-ever athlete to win back-to-back.

And, even more impressively, Barber won one of his five Canadian titles that year as well.

Barber won the 2015 world championships in Beijing, China, with a mark of 5.90m.

Related Article: Indiana Jones Actor Christian Oliver Dies Alongside Two Daughters Aged 10 And 12

Related Article: Michael Bolton Rushed To ‘Immediate Surgery’ After Serious Health Scare

He then made the final at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, although that pole vault event was eventually won by Thiago Braz of Brazil.

Barber’s 2015 world championship win earned Canada its first-ever world pole vault medal and was the country’s first athletics world title in 12 years, as per CTV News.

Barber’s best vault was six meters, which he obtained on January 15, 2016, in Reno, Nevada, and remains the Canadian record, per the Associated Press.

The Olympic star is survived by his mother, Ann, father, George, and brother, David.

Do you have a story for us? If so, email us at [email protected]. All contact will be treated in confidence.

Written by Annie Walton Doyle

Annie Walton Doyle is a content editor at IGV who specialises in trending, lifestyle and entertainment news. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a degree in English Literature. Annie has previously worked with organisations such as The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Harvard University, the Pulitzer Prize and 22 Words.