Marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum died Sunday in a car accident in his native Kenya, local media reported.

The 24-year-old was killed along with his coach, Rwanda's Gervais Hakizimana, while driving on a road in western Kenya.

Kiptum set the men's marathon world record of 2 hours, 35 seconds in last October's Chicago Marathon, bettering countryman Eliud Kipchoge's previous mark by 34 seconds.

Kelvin Kiptum of Kenya poses with his medal and the clock after setting a world record marathon time of 2:00:35 at the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 8, 2023. (Getty/Kyodo)

He was one of World Athletics' Athletes of the Year in 2023 and was expected to be among the gold medal contenders at this summer's Paris Olympics.

Kiptum was driving when the car rolled, killing him and his coach, while injuring a third occupant of the car, AFP quoted local police as saying.

The ascendant star had registered three of the seven fastest marathon times ever recorded and was aiming to become the first runner to complete the 42.195-kilometer race in under two hours.

The former women's marathon world record holder, Japan's Naoko Takahashi, was among the members of the athletics community to pay tribute to Kiptum.

"I can't believe this news. He was still a young runner with unrealized potential," the 2000 Sydney Olympic gold medalist wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

"I wanted to support him as he continued to challenge the limits of human achievement."

Kipchoge posted a statement saying he was "deeply saddened by the tragic passing" of Kiptum, "an athlete who had a whole life ahead of him to achieve incredible greatness."

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said he was "shocked and saddened to learn of the devastating loss."

"On behalf of all World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation," Coe said in a statement.

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