Olympic figure skater Denis Ten, 25, was stabbed to death in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Thursday.
Ten, who earned a bronze medal at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi and was a two-time world medalist, died of stab wounds after confronting thieves who were stealing his car mirrors on a street in Almaty, Kazakh Minister of Culture said in a Facebook post. Doctors attempted surgery, but were unable to save the Olympic skater.
Born in Almaty, with Korean heritage, Ten was an athlete of the world. He trained in Moscow as well as in California and competed in three Olympic Games. Ten was only the second singles skater to represent Kazakhstan at the Olympics.
Stunned figure skaters whom he had befriended during his long competitive career from around the world expressed grief and disbelief at Ten’s passing on social media.
“He was so kind to everyone and a huge inspiration to me and so many other people,” wrote U.S. Olympian Adam Rippon on Twitter. “Your time with us was way too short. Love you forever.”
My skating friend, @Tenis_Den, passed away today. He was so kind to everyone and a huge inspiration to me and so many other people. Murdered in the streets of Kazakhstan. Denis, thank you for showing us how to be a champion. Your time with us was way too short. Love you forever.
— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) July 19, 2018
Canada’s Patrick Chan wrote “I feel so honored and grateful to have shared the ice with [Denis]. One of the most beautiful skaters to have graced our sport…I feel so lucky to have made memories with Denis that I will cherish forever…”
I feel so honored and grateful to have shared the ice with @Tenis_Den. One of the most beautiful skaters to have graced our sport. My thoughts are with his family during this unimaginable time. I feel so lucky to have made memories with Denis that I will cherish forever…
— Patrick Chan (@Pchiddy) July 19, 2018
Alex Shibutani, 2018 bronze medalist for the U,S. in ice dancing, skated with Ten in various shows as well as in competition and posted a video he made of his friend‘s Olympic experience. Explaining Ten’s twitter handle, he recalled that he and his sister and ice dance partner, Maia, “convinced Denis to join Twitter when he visited us one summer in the U.S. I’m pretty sure the “DenisTen” Twitter handle was available, but Denis was always different. He flipped the first letters of his name, and that’s why he’s @Tenis_Den on Twitter.”
If you never had the opportunity to speak or spend time with Denis, this video shows you a glimpse of his thoughtfulness, his wisdom, and his gratitude. https://t.co/Z06Kzjplip
— Alex Shibutani (@AlexShibutani) July 19, 2018
Johnny Weir, who expressed disbelief when Ten’s sparkling performance at the 2013 World Championships earned him a silver behind a flawed performance by the gold medal winner, tweeted “Completely devastated by the passing of Denis Ten. This is such an incredible loss and tragedy.”
Completely devastated by the passing of Denis Ten. He was as bright and kind as he was talented. This is such an incredible loss and tragedy. My heart is with his family and loved ones. pic.twitter.com/pXGB2OdvYg
— Johnny Weir (@JohnnyGWeir) July 19, 2018
Meryl Davis, 2014 Olympic gold medalist from the U.S., sent her thoughts to Ten’s family. “Denis your heart, passion, kindness & generosity will not be forgotten. My thoughts are with your family, friends & fans whose lives you’ve made brighter. What a devastating loss for our skating family.”
So very saddened by the loss of this special young man. Denis, your heart, passion, kindness & generosity will not be forgotten. My thoughts are with your family, friends & fans whose lives you’ve made brighter. What a devastating loss for our skating family. https://t.co/EXdR0757am
— Meryl Davis (@Meryl_Davis) July 19, 2018
Javier Fermandez, the 2018 Olympic bronze medalist from Spain, posted a picture of himself with Ten on the podium. “Rest in peace,” he wrote.
Rest in peace ??❤️ pic.twitter.com/a01vndbCWE
— Javier Fernandez (@javierfernandez) July 19, 2018