Kenyan Olympic runner and two-time world championship bronze medalist Agnes Tirop was found dead at her home Wednesday in what police called a “heinous crime.”
Kenya’s National Police Service gave no more details on Tirop’s death other than to say it was investigating.
“NPS wishes to assure the public of speedy and comprehensive investigations into the heinous crime,” it said.
The Kenyan track federation had earlier said the 25-year-old distance runner, one of her country’s rising stars, had allegedly been stabbed by her husband. Athletics Kenya said it was still working to uncover details of the incident and paid tribute to Tirop.
“Kenya has lost a jewel,” the federation said.
Tirop won bronze medals in the women’s 10,000 meters at the 2017 and 2019 world championships and finished fourth in the 5,000 meters at the Tokyo Olympics. Just last month, Tirop broke the world record in the women-only 10-kilometer road race in Germany.
Her career took off when she won the world cross-country title in 2015 at the age of 19 to become the second youngest champion ever in the event.
Tirop was found dead at her home in Iten in western Kenya, a town renowned as a training base for distance runners. Kenyan media reported she was found with stab wounds in her abdomen and neck and her husband was missing. Kenyan police were now searching for him for questioning, the reports said.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta urged police “to track down and apprehend the criminals responsible for the killing of Agnes.”
“It is unsettling, utterly unfortunate and very sad that we’ve lost a young and promising athlete,” Kenyatta said in a statement. “It is even more painful that Agnes, a Kenyan hero by all measures, painfully lost her young life through a criminal act perpetuated by selfish and cowardly people.”
International track governing body World Athletics said it was “deeply shocked and saddened” by Tirop’s death.