World champion hurdler Nicholas Kiplagat Bett has been killed in a car accident, Athletics Kenya have confirmed.
The 28-year-old had just returned to Kenya from the African Athletics Championships in Asaba, Nigeria.
Three years ago, Bett stunned the field to take 400m hurdles gold from the outermost lane at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.
His family announced his death, from a car crash, before it was confirmed by Athletics Kenya in a statement, which paid tribute to Bett.
The global governing body of athletics, the IAAF, also expressed condolences, saying it was “deeply saddened and shocked” at the news.
Bett became the first Kenyan to win a world title at a distance under 800m when he triumphed in the Chinese capital.
His winning time of 47.79 seconds set a new national record, since broken, and was the world’s best time that year.
However, he was disqualified from his Rio 2016 heat for deliberately knocking over a hurdle.
Bett rebounded to win the Paris Diamond League event later that year, but struggled with injuries in 2017.
The father of two-year-old twins made the finals of both the Commonwealth Games and African Championships this year. He finished eighth on the Gold Coast, but did not complete the race in Asaba.
His twin brother, Aron Koech, also runs the 400m hurdles for Kenya, and finished sixth ahead of Bett at the Commonwealths.