Kiwi mountain biker Kelly McGarry's father says sudden death "just doesn't make sense"
In Memory Of Kelly McGarry
After the sad news hearing about Kelly McGarry Passing away this morning we thought we'd upload this nice video shot by the guys over at @dirtmagazine Kelly Passed away around 4:14pm whilst riding on a trail and was pronounced dead at the scene.... we still dont know the full story behind what happened or how but EVERYONE from the Sport shall miss this Friendly Giant All our thoughts and prayers go to his Family and Friends at this Very Sad Time.Posted by Blizzard Extreme Sports on Monday, February 1, 2016
The father of mountain biking ace Kelly McGarry is still struggling to comprehend how his super-fit son could die from a cardiac arrest at the age of 33.
Kelly McGarry was biking on Queenstown's Fernhill Loop Track on Monday when he collapsed.
"How the hell could that happen (to him) with a such fine physique like that? It just doesn't make sense," an emotional Nick McGarry said from Nelson. "Boy, he was just a ball of muscle. He was so fit – not heart attack material at all."
It is a question many of Kelly's friends and associates around the world have been asking since learning of his sudden death.
Nick McGarry said he kept in touch with Kelly on a regular basis, even when he was competing and show casing his skills overseas. Kelly was scheduled to compete at Southland's Farm Jam event at Otapiri Gorge, near Winton on Saturday.
Now Nick is preparing to travel to Queenstown on Thursday and attend a memorial service for his son in the resort town on Friday.
Another service will be held in Nelson on Monday and Nick hopes it will be held in the hills behind the city. "At a place where you can look right across the mountains and the sea. We will be up there with a 360 degree view, because he loved the mountains."
Kelly's mother Angela died when he was in his early 20s. Nick said she would have been proud of Kelly's ability to carve out a living by doing something he had such a passion for.
"We wouldn't have conceived that a young man could make a career out of it – and getting sponsors to pay him to do what he enjoyed. He did it all without any assistance – even from me to a certain extent. He didn't ask for anything . . . He just did it all on his own.
"He's awesome. He's one of New Zealand's greats and I'm just so proud of him."
A student at Nelson's Waimea College, Kelly represented Nelson Bays at rugby in his mid-teens. Then he discovered how much fun he could have on two wheels. Before getting hooked on mountain biking, he rode in motocross and BMX events.
Despite his success he kept his ego in check, and was able to relate easily to supporters and friends of all ages.
"Everybody felt comfortable in his company," Nick added. "I said to him 'crikey dick mate you should be a politician and show them the way'."
Kelly's courage wowed crowds around the world and tens millions of fans who watched his stunts online. Nick said the family tree may give some indication as to why he possessed such courage.
"His grandparents on his mother's side – they were in the Dutch underground, his grandmother used to have Americans up in the loft. And my grandfather was in the long-range desert group and I heard he did some great work at Cassino. Maybe it was in the blood."