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Shawn Barber, Canadian pole vault record holder, dies at 29 from medical complications

Shawn Barber, the Canadian pole vault record holder and 2015 world champion, has died from medical complications. He was 29.

Barber died Wednesday at home in Kingwood, Texas, his agent, Paul Doyle, confirmed to The Associated Press. The cause of death was not yet known. Barber had been experiencing health issues.

“More than just an incredible athlete, Shawn was such a good-hearted person that always put others ahead of himself,” Doyle said Thursday. “It’s tragic to lose such a good person at such a young age.”

Barber was a standout pole vaulter at the University of Akron, where he captured back-to-back NCAA indoor championships in 2014 and 2015. He won the NCAA outdoor crown as well in 2015, before taking gold later that summer at the Pan-Am Games. Barber carried a wave of momentum into worlds that season in Beijing. He took gold over Germany’s Raphael Marcel Holzdeppe.

A year later, Barber made the final at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in a pole vault event won by Thiago Braz of Brazil.

Barber’s best vault was six meters (19 feet, 8 ¼ inches) on Jan. 15, 2016, in Reno, Nevada. His mark remains the Canadian record.

He’s survived by his mother, Ann; father, George; and brother, David.

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