Sad news greeted the figure skating world on Thursday morning: Denis Ten, the Kazakh skater who won Olympic bronze in Sochi, died after being stabbed in the streets of Almaty, Kazakhstan. He was 25.
Ten got into a heated argument with two men who were trying to steal the mirrors off his car, a report from RT.com said. The argument turned into a physical altercation, during which Ten sustained stab wounds. He was left unconscious in the streets until a pedestrian found him and called an ambulance.
Ten was reportedly stabbed in the upper thigh and lost three liters of blood before he was rushed to the hospital. According to Kazinform, he underwent surgery and clung to life for hours at the hospital before dying from his injuries.
Ten’s legacy in Kazakhstan
Ten won the bronze medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. He was beloved in Kazakhstan, and even hosted an ice show in June called “Denis and Friends” in the capital city of Astana, which brought together famous skaters from around the world and coincided with the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Astana as the capital. He battled through injuries to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang so he could pay tribute to his Korean heritage, and finished 27th.
Kazakh Minister of Culture and Sport Arystanbek Mukhamediuly shared his heartbroken reaction on Facebook, which was translated by Kazinform.
“Denis Ten is an incredible figure skater, the legend of our sport, our pride. He passed away despite the best doctors were fighting for his life. He was only 25. It is a horrific and unfair tragedy. This is a huge loss for his family and for all of us who knew, loved and respected him genuinely. […] And today our “golden boy” is gone as a result of the knife attack… It would be a miracle to save Denis. We believed in this miracle till the bitter end. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to his family. This is an unthinkable tragedy and irreparable loss.”
Social media tributes
The figure skating world, both fans and well-known skaters, mourned the loss of Ten on Twitter.
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
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
So sad to hear of Denis Ten's tragic passing. He was as kind as he was talented. It was an honour to share the ice with him. You will be greatly missed, Denis.
— Scott Moir (@ScottMoir) July 19, 2018
“Denis Ten was a great athlete and a great ambassador for his sport. A warm personality and a charming man. Such a tragedy to lose him at such a young age.” -IOC President Thomas Bach pic.twitter.com/YIZhBHy6Fi
— Olympics (@Olympics) July 19, 2018
The ISU is deeply saddened by the news from media in Kazakhstan announcing the passing of Figure Skater Denis Ten. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Denis' family, friends and fans across the world. pic.twitter.com/1w7Isb9HJC
— ISU Figure Skating (@ISU_Figure) July 19, 2018
One of my oldest friends from skating world is gone.
I still can’t believe that and I hope it’s not real.
A life taken from a smart, kind and polite person is just not fair.
All my thoughts to his family <3 #denisten pic.twitter.com/dZiZaoFmGG
— Alexander Majorov (@majorov3) July 19, 2018
I remember watching Denis at 2014 Sochi Olympics. He was my first idol. The few times I was got to share the ice with him, I saw and felt the power he exuded. He inspired many skaters, and his legacy will live on in future generations to come. Rest In Peace Denis Ten.💔 #denisten pic.twitter.com/Wm4LjRE8D3
— Camden Pulkinen (@CamdenPulk) July 19, 2018
“Warriors of Kazakhstan,” Sochi 2014 gala
Great athlete, one-of-a-kind artist, and by all accounts, lovely human being. 💔 pic.twitter.com/UDkuT6zUsu
— FigureSkatingMisc (@figureskatingm1) July 19, 2018
a last tribute to Denis Ten, the warrior of kazakhstan, who has been an inspiration for so many.
my condolences are with his family, friends and fans.
im still in shock but i felt like i had to give something back.
May he rest in peace, he had to go too early.#DenisTen pic.twitter.com/SY8Zlx5en8
— LaurasStarlight @GamesCom 👑✨ (@laurasstarlight) July 19, 2018
Denis Ten, our Greatest showman, rest in peace 😔 pic.twitter.com/M0ZnOuwlLd
— Trisha🌸 (@fsandcoffee) July 19, 2018
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