Jigme Norbu (undated photo)
Jigme Norbu (undated photo)

Supporters of the Dalai Lama are saddened that his nephew was hit and killed by a vehicle during his "Walk for for Tibet" campaign.

Jigme Norbu was walking along the side of an unlit stretch of a local highway in Florida Monday evening when he was struck by a sport utility vehicle.   Police say he died on the scene.  

Norbu was a native of Bloomington, Indiana, where his father Thubten Norbu was a university professor.   The Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center in Bloomington issued a statement Tuesday expressing deep regret about his tragic death.   Members praised Norbu's work on behalf of Tibet and the Tibetan people, and announced plans to hold a prayer service for him.

The British-based rights group Free Tibet offered sympathies to Norbu's family and friends.  In its statement Tuesday, the group praised his endeavors and said people like him offer hope to Tibetans.

Norbu had conducted several walks to campaign for Tibet's freedom, including a trek of almost 1,500 kilometers in 2009 from the state of Indiana to New York City.

Monday's accident occurred about 40 kilometers south of the city of St. Augustine, where Norbu had set out on what was to have been a 480-kilometer walk to raise awareness about human rights abuses in Tibet.  

State troopers questioned the SUV driver who hit Norbu, but did not file charges against him.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.