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Iranian Paralympic Cyclist Dies Day Before Closing Ceremony

Sarafraz Bahman Golbarnezhad (IRI) of Iran (center) competes in the Men's Road Race B during the 2016 Rio Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sept. 17, 2016.

A minute of silence will be held at the Sunday’s 2016 Paralympic closing ceremonies in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in honor of an Iranian cyclist who died in a road race on the penultimate day of the Rio Games.

Bahman Golbarnezhad crashed in the C4-5 event at the first portion of the Grumari loop on a mountainous descent of the cycling course.

“This is an absolutely tragic movement and also for the games here in Rio,” Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, said.

Reports say Golbarnezhad received treatment at the scene and was on the way to the athlete hospital when he suffered a cardiac arrest.

“The ambulance then diverted to the nearby Unimed Rio Hospital in Barra where he passed away soon after arrival,” according to a statement from the International Paralympic Committee.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani offered condolences and said the “demise of our dear cyclist Bahman Golbarnezhad immersed us all in deep sorrow.”

The athlete’s family in Iran has been informed along with the Iranian team.

Authorities in Rio are gathering information and investigating the accident.

Golbarnezhad, who wore a prosthesis on his left leg, began competing in the sport in 2002. Before the Rio Games, he competed in the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

The Iranian flag was lowered to half-staff in the Paralympic Village, and will remain lowered at Sunday’s sitting volleyball gold medal match between Iran and Bosnia at Rio Centro.

Some information for this report came from AFP and Reuters.