World marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana died in a road accident in western Kenya on Sunday, former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
According to police, the car was on its way to Eldoret, a city in western Kenya, when the accident occurred.
"The accident happened at around 11 pm (2000 GMT). The car had three occupants, two died on the spot while one was taken to the hospital. The two are Kiptum and his coach," said Peter Mulinge, police commander for Elgeyo Marakwet County in western Kenya.
The sports world was saddened by Kiptum's death, with the Boston and London marathons posting condolences on social media.
Kenya's minister for sports Ababu Namwamba said on X , "Devastatingly sickening!! Kenya has lost a special gem. Lost for words."
"Kelvin Kiptum was a star. Arguably one of the world's finest sportsmen who broke barriers to secure a marathon record," Kenya's President William Ruto said.
"An extraordinary sportsman has left an extraordinary mark in the globe. Our thoughts are with the family and the sporting fraternity. Rest In Peace," he added.
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe called Kiptum "an incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy."
"We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana," Coe said in a statement.
"On behalf of all World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, team mates and the Kenyan nation," he added.
The 24-year-old Kiptum set the world record at the Chicago Marathon in October with a time of 2:00:35, beating the record of 2:01:09 set by compatriot Eliud Kipchoge in Berlin in 2022.
At this year's Summer Olympics in Paris, Kiptum was set to meet Kipchoge. Kiptum was considered a promising candidate to become the first person to break the magic two-hour mark in the marathon under normal conditions.