Rest in Peace, Kelly McGarry

The friendly freeride icon has passed away while riding in New Zealand

Terrible news out of New Zealand this morning that Kelly McGarry has passed away.

The Otago Daily Times reported that emergency services had responded to a fatal medical event on a remote section of the Ben Lomond Track above Queenstown yesterday afternoon.


McGarry’s sponsor, YT, confirmed the incredibly sad news: “We were informed about his death in the morning and are petrified, shocked and heartbroken about losing one of our family members. Kelly was a warm-hearted, friendly and relaxed guy. He stood for the true essence of mountain biking through every aspect of his life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, girlfriend and his friends. The mountain bike world lost an exceptional character.”

Martina Bogott, online editor for YT, said she has not yet heard the exact cause of Kelly’s death.

“It is a real tragedy that hit us quite hard. We still cannot believe what happened today. At the moment, we do not have any concrete or confirmed information about the cause of his death. We are waiting for new information from New Zealand…The only thing we know is that he was out on his mountain bike,” Bogott said.

Kelly was 33 years old. We are all stunned and saddened by this news here at Bike, and our thoughts today are with those closest to Kelly.

Tributes began pouring in on social media as soon as the news broke that one of the most-inspiring riders in the world had passed away. Fans and friends remembered Kelly for his genuine and easy-going demeanor and his trademark smile that could light up any room.

YT teammate Cam Zink wrote this heartfelt tribute on his Instagram account: “They say only the good die young, but this is on a whole ‘nother level. Kelly McGarry was the epitome of good. If I had to pick one person to be the face of happiness and positivity for the world, it would be this one atop a gigantic body with bright, long hair; the easiest to pick out in a crowd so you always know where the biggest, happiest smile is. Anyone who had ever met this giant beam of sunshine knows how awesome and genuine he was. The world will miss you buddy and wherever you are now is a better place because of it.”