Kenyan President William Ruto has expressed deep sorrow at the tragic death of marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum.
He described the young athlete as and record-setting running star as "our future".
In a tribute on Monday, February 12, President Ruto said Kiptum "was a star. Arguably one of the world’s finest sportsmen who broke barriers to secure a marathon record."
"He was only 24 yet, as a hero, triumphed in Valencia, Chicago, London and in other top competitions. His mental strength and discipline were unmatched. Kiptum was our future,” added the President.
Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana were said to have died in a car accident outside Eldoret.
The 24-year-old Kiptum, who was driving, and his 36-year-old Rwandan coach died at the scene shortly after their vehicle crashed at around 11pm local time on Sunday night, February 2024.
Police say the car lost control and rolled, killing both men instantly.
Per the police report, an unnamed third person in the car survived with serious injuries.
Kiptum had only turned his attention to marathon running in the last year, but achieved instant success by setting the world record of 2:00:35 at the Chicago Marathon in October 2023.
Just days ago, World Athletics officially ratified his record time.
He had been selected for Kenya's preliminary marathon team for the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics.
Four years ago, he ran in his first major international event while wearing borrowed shoes, unable to afford his own pair at the time.
Kiptum was part of a new generation of Kenyan runners who began competing in road races from the outset, diverging from the past tradition of starting on the track before progressing to longer distances.