Slovenian snowboarder Marko Grilc died Tuesday in a tragic accident in the Austrian ski resort of Solden, authorities said. He was 38.
Police in the western Austrian state of Tyrol released a press release late on Tuesday saying that a “38-year-old Slovene” had “suffered fatal head injuries” after a snowboarding accident that occurred in Solden just before 3 p.m.
Two of Grilc’s sponsors — GoPro and Burton Snowboards — confirmed the identity of the victim in a pair of tweets on Wednesday.
According to police, the victim was part of a crew that was getting ready to film in the area later in the week. As they were exploring the location, the man fell from a lift and hit his head “against a snow covered-rock.” He was not wearing a helmet.
Despite efforts to resuscitate the man by his team and employees of the resort, he died from his injuries at the scene, authorities said.
“We are saddened to hear the news of Marko Grilc’s passing. He was a beloved member of the GoPro family and inspired us not only as a professional athlete, but as a father and an amazing human,” the American tech company tweeted. “He was a legend and will be truly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
A tweet shared by the snowboard-manufacturing company read that, “With a heavy heart we share that yesterday, our dear friend and Burton team rider Marko ‘Grilo’ Grilc passed away in an accident while snowboarding. Our heart goes out to his fiancee Nina and their children, family, and friends, who all shared his love and passion for snowboarding.”
According to the International Ski Federation (FIS), the Ljubljana-born athlete, who was also known as Grilo, made his professional debut at the FIS Junior World Championships in Finland in 2002.
He continued competing in the pro-snowboarding circuit — winning the Innsbruck Air and Style in 2009, and an FIS World Cup Big Air event in London in 2010 — for the following 11 years.
After his final professional appearance, at the World Cup at Copper Mountain, in Colorado in 2013, he started dedicating his career to filming snowboarding videos, many of which aimed to promote the sport among youth.
“Grilo was a career snowboarder in a league of his own,” Burton CEO John Lacy said in a statement.
“Through his World Titles, unforgettable video parts and deep love of the sport, he made outstanding contributions to the snowboarding world that are still recognized today. Guiding his children, the next generation of riders, into the world of snowboarding was his most recent passion,” he added. “We lost one of the very best.”
Grilc is survived by his fiancee and two children.