Kelly McGarry was a mountain bike legend who amazed the world with his fearless and daring stunts. He was best known for his incredible backflip over a 72-foot canyon gap at the 2013 Red Bull Rampage, which earned him a silver medal and millions of views on YouTube. But how did Kelly McGarry die, and what was the cause of his death?
A Sudden Cardiac Arrest
On February 1, 2016, Kelly McGarry was riding his bike on the Fernhill Loop Track, a challenging and remote trail near Queenstown, New Zealand. He was with his friend and fellow rider, Fraser Gordon, when he suddenly collapsed and stopped breathing. Gordon tried to perform CPR on him, but it was too late. McGarry was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics who arrived by helicopter.
According to the coroner’s report, McGarry died from a cardiac arrest caused by an arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat. The report stated that McGarry had a history of palpitations and had been diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse, a condition where the valve between the left atrium and the left ventricle of the heart does not close properly. The report also noted that McGarry had a mild enlargement of the heart and some scarring of the heart muscle, which could have contributed to his arrhythmia.
The coroner concluded that McGarry’s death was a natural event that could not have been prevented or predicted. He said that McGarry’s physical activity and altitude did not play a role in his death, and that there was no evidence of drugs or alcohol in his system. He also praised Gordon for his efforts to save McGarry’s life.
A Legacy of Freeride
Kelly McGarry was born on April 17, 1982, in Wakefield, a small town near Nelson, New Zealand. He started off as a BMX rider and later switched to mountain biking, competing in four-cross and downhill races. He soon discovered his passion for freeride, a style of mountain biking that involves riding on natural terrain and performing tricks and jumps.
McGarry became one of the most prolific and recognized riders in the freeride scene, participating in events such as X Games, Crankworx, Red Bull Joyride, and Red Bull District Ride. He was known for his friendly and relaxed personality, as well as his courage and creativity. He was always pushing the boundaries of the sport and inspiring others with his feats.
McGarry’s most memorable moment was his backflip over the canyon gap at the 2013 Red Bull Rampage, which was captured by his helmet camera and went viral online. The video has over 220 million views to date, and is considered one of the most iconic moments in mountain biking history. McGarry said that he had practiced the backflip on smaller jumps, but never on such a big gap. He said that he was nervous before the jump, but decided to go for it and trust his instincts.
McGarry’s death shocked and saddened the mountain bike community, who paid tribute to him with messages, videos, and memorial rides. His family and friends set up a foundation in his name, the Kelly McGarry Foundation, which aims to support and promote mountain biking in New Zealand and around the world. The foundation also organizes an annual event, the McGazza Fest, which celebrates McGarry’s life and legacy with bike rides, music, and fun.
Kelly McGarry was a mountain bike legend who left a lasting impression on the sport and the people who knew him. He died doing what he loved, and his spirit lives on in his amazing videos and the foundation that bears his name. He will always be remembered as a fearless and fun-loving rider who inspired millions with his backflip over the canyon.