RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The coach of Germany’s canoe slalom team, Stefan Henze, died from head injuries sustained in a car crash last week in Rio de Janeiro, the German Olympics team said on Monday.
Henze was traveling with a teammate in a taxi to the athletes’ village early on Friday in the Barra de Tijuca neighborhood when the car crashed into a concrete barrier. His teammate Christian Kaeding suffered minor injuries and was briefly treated in hospital before being released.
It was not yet clear how the accident occurred.
“We are endlessly sad on this day,” said German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) President Alfons Hoermann in a statement. “Words cannot come close to describing how we in the Olympic team feel after this dreadful incident.”
The 35-year-old, a 2004 Olympic Games silver medalist, had undergone emergency surgery early on Friday and had been in intensive care ever since.
“Today sports, for which the entire team came to Rio, moves into the background,” said team chief Michael Vesper. “Our thoughts are with his family who had the chance here to bid farewell.”
The German team said it will hold a ceremony on Tuesday at the Place of Mourning inside the Olympic Village where the athletes live.
“The IOC is mourning the loss of a true Olympian,” said IOC President Thomas Bach, a German who headed the DOSB until 2013.
“Our sympathy is with the family of Stefan Henze, his friends and all of the German Olympic Team. We will honor his memory tomorrow by lowering all the German flags at the Olympic Venues to half-mast.”
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Mark Bendeich and Bill Rigby