Ecuador sprinter Alex Quinonez, the World Championship bronze medallist, was found dead in his home city at the age of 32.
According to the Ecuadorian Sports Ministry on Saturday, Quinonez was found dead in the street in Guayaquil on Friday.
“With great sadness, we confirm the murder of our sportsman Alex Quinonez,” the Sports Ministry announced on Twitter.
“We have lost a great sportsman, someone who allowed us to dream, who moved us….he was the greatest sprinter this country produced.”
Meanwhile, Guayaquil-based newspaper El Universo said Quinonez and another individual were fatally shot at around 9:20 p.m. on Friday in the northwest part of the city.
The country’s president Guillermo Lasso reacted to the news of the killing of Quinonez, expressing his condolences and noted that the act “will not go unpunished.”
Quinonez finished third in the 200m at the world championships in Doha two years ago, becoming the first Ecuadorian athlete to win a global medal in a track event. He qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games but was suspended in July by the Athletics Integrity Unit for anti-doping whereabouts failures.
The all-rounded sprinter held national records at every sprint distance: 60m (6.66), 100m (10.09), 200m (19.87) and 400m (46.28), according to the World Athletics.
He will be missed.
“Brother, I cannot believe it’s true,” world and Olympic 400m silver medallist Anthony Zambrano, who is a training partner of Quinonez, said in a social media post.
“We do not deserve this. What awful news. It’s a shame that life is such, but to die one has to be alive. You are great and I will always cherish you in my heart.”
Spanish La Liga football team Barcelona FC held a moment of silence in Quinonez’s honor as he was a member of their athletics team.
The news of Quinonez’s death marks the second killing of an international track athlete this month, following the news that Kenyan 3k world record holder Agnes Tirop was found stabbed to death at her home.