By Gary Anderson

February 21 - Matthew Robinson ©APCAustralian Para-snowboarder Matthew Robinson has tragically died during a specially arranged flight home to Melbourne after he underwent surgery on serious neck and spinal injuries in a Barcelona hospital last week.

Robinson spent eight days in the Parc Tauli Sabadell Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery following a crash during competition at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Adaptive Snowboard (IPCAS) World Cup Finals in La Molina, Spain on Wednesday (February 12).

The 29-year-old was stabilised and cleared by medical staff to be transported on board a specialised Air Ambulance to Melbourne.

However, during a scheduled stop-off in Kuwait, Robinson suffered a cardiac arrest on board the aircraft and despite attempts by the air ambulance crew to resuscitate him, he could not be revived.

Reacting to the news of the tragedy, IPC President Sir Philip Craven said: "The whole of the Paralympic Movement is deeply saddened by this heart breaking tragedy.

"Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Matthew's fiancée, family, friends and teammates at this difficult time.

"Matthew was a world class and extremely popular athlete, a fact underlined by the vast number of support messages he received from around the world following last week's accident.

"He sustained his injuries doing the sport he loved most.

"The IPC and whole of the Paralympic Movement are in deep mourning at his passing.

"The Movement is a close knit family and he will be sadly missed by all."

Robinson's fiancée and parents had travelled to Barcelona to be with the stricken athlete where they were met by members of the Australian Paralympic team medical staff and the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).

Matthew Robinson had created history last month by becoming the first Australian to win an IPCAS World Cup event ©Luc PercivalMatthew Robinson had created history last month by becoming the first Australian to win an IPCAS World Cup event ©Luc Percival

The Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had set up an incident management team, led by chief executive Jason Hellwig, to examine the details of the what occurred during the crash last week.

In a statement released today the APC expressed its shock and sadness at the news of Robinson's death and called for privacy for his family and friends.

"The Australian Paralympic Committee is deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Para-snowboarder Matthew Robinson," said the statement.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Matthew's parents, his fiancée, his family and his teammates.

"Our immediate concern is to do everything possible to support them at this extremely sad and difficult time.

"The Australian Paralympic Committee will not make any further comment until we have been advised of the wishes of Matthew's fiancée and parents.

"We ask that all media respect the privacy of Matthew's family and friends at this time."

Robinson had competed in three IPCAS World Cup events this season and created history last month by claiming Australia's first gold medal at Copper Mountain in the United States.