Judoka Alexandr Jurecka has died at the age of 24 following an accident while diving in La Garda, Italy, the Czech Judo Federation have announced.
Early reports from the judoka's friends state they were diving in a lake, believed to be around 80 metres deep, but it unclear as to whether an illness or something else which went wrong was responsible for his death.
Divers searched for Jurecka until around 4am local time before his body was discovered.
Jurecka recently competed at the International Judo Federation (IJF) World Championships in Kazakhstan’s capital city Astana where he secured two victories in the men’s under 90 kilogram division, before eventually being beaten by Hungary’s Krisztian Toth.
The Czech secured several medals during his career, including bronzes at the Moscow and Baku Grand Slam events in 2013, while he also earned bronze in the Samsun Grand Prix event in the same year.
He also won his country’s national title and claimed World Cup bronze in the Mongolian city of Ulaanbaatar in 2012, before competing in front of his home crowd at the European Under 23 Championships where he placed fifth.
Lukas Krpalek, 2014 world champion in the men’s under 100kg event, paid tribute to his countryman in a statement.
“Anytime anyone needed help, he was the first one who came, if it was in midnight or any time,” he said.
“We will try to achieve the goals which you always wanted to reach, but destiny did not allow you.
“You stay in our memories and we are missing you terribly, my dear little brother.”
The IJF have revealed that a minute’s silence will be held in tribute to the two-time World Championship competitor at next week’s Tashkent Grand Prix in Uzbekistan, while they have also passed on their condolences to the Czech Judo Federation.