DENVER (AP) — Caleb Moore was a Texas kid drawn to the snow, rehearsing complicated tricks on a snowmobile into a foam pit back home until they became second nature and ready for the mountains.
With his younger brother following along and constantly pushing him, Moore became a rising talent in action sports.
The innovative freestyle snowmobile rider, who was hurt in a crash at the Winter X Games in Colorado, died Thursday morning. He was 25.
Moore had been undergoing care at a hospital in Grand Junction since the Jan. 24 crash. Family spokeswoman Chelsea Lawson confirmed his death, the first in the 18-year history of the X Games.
“He lived his life to the fullest. He was an inspiration,” Lawson said.
A former all-terrain vehicle racer, Moore switched over to snowmobiles as a teenager and quickly rose to the top of the sport. He won four Winter X Games medals, including a bronze last season when his younger brother, Colten, captured gold.
Caleb Moore was attempting a backflip in the freestyle event in Aspen last week when the skis on his 450-pound snowmobile caught the lip of the landing area, sending him flying over the handlebars. Moore landed face first into the snow with his snowmobile rolling over him.
Moore stayed down for quite some time, before walking off with help and going to a hospital to be treated for a concussion. Moore developed bleeding around his heart and was flown to a hospital in Grand Junction for surgery. The family later said that Moore, of Krum, Texas, also had a complication involving his brain.
Colten Moore was injured in a separate crash that same night. He suffered a separated pelvis in the spill.
The family said in a statement they were grateful for all the prayers and support they have received from people around the world.
X Games officials expressed their condolences and said Moore, a four-time X Games medalist, would be remembered “for his natural passion for life and his deep love for his family and friends.”
The Twitter accounts of many athletes from a wide range of sports expressed their sympathy Thursday:
— New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow: “So sad to hear about the passing of snowmobiler Caleb Moore. My prayers go out to his younger brother Colten & their entire family.”
— Freestyle skier Kaya Turski: “The spirit of Caleb Moore will be floating among us forever. RIP.”
— Surfer Kelly Slater: “Tragic. Don’t even know what to say.”
— Snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler: “Our world has lost another bright light. Sending my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Caleb Moore.”
— Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria, who made a visit to Winter X last weekend: “Tragic day for the family of Caleb Moore. Our deepest sympathies go out to all who he influenced and touched. RIP.”