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Shawn Barber, 2015 World champion pole vaulter, dies at 29 from medical complications

Shawn Barber Pole Vault

BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 24: Shawnacy Barber of Canada celebrates after winning gold in the Men’s Pole Vault final during day three of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 24, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

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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. A 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 American Games. Barber carried a wave of momentum into worlds that season in Beijing. He took gold over Germany’s Raphael Holzdeppe.

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

Barber’s best vault was six meters 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.