Kenyan world record holder Agnes Tirop has been found dead at her home in the western town of Iten, a training hub for many athletes.
The two-time World Athletics Championships bronze medallist, who finished fourth in the Olympic 5,000m final two months ago, was 25.
Kenyan police have told BBC Sport Africa they are still investigating the circumstances surrounding her death, with crime scene investigators at her house on Wednesday.
Tirop was found dead with stab wounds to her stomach and neck, sources have told the BBC.
Last month, Tirop set the world record
for a women’s only 10km road race in Germany.
“Athletics Kenya are this afternoon distraught to learn about the untimely death of World 10,000m bronze medallist Agnes Tirop,” the country’s athletics body said in a statement.
“We are still working to unearth more details surrounding her demise. Kenya has lost a jewel who was one of the fastest-rising athletics giants on the international stage, thanks to her eye-catching performances on the track.”
At the 2020 Olympic Games in August, Tirop finished just outside the medal places for the women’s 5,000m, trailing Ethiopia’s bronze medallist Gudaf Tsegay by 0.75 seconds.
As well as her 10,000m bronze medals at both the 2017 and 2019 World Athletics Championships, Tirop also impressed off the track.
In September, she set a time of 30 minutes and one second in Herzogenaurach, Germany, as she took 28 seconds off the old 10km road race record set in 2002.
Tirop began her career as a junior athlete in 2011, winning two bronze medals in the 5,000m at that year’s world junior championships.
Four years later, during a rapid ascent, she won the senior World Cross Country Championships in China – becoming the second-youngest medallist at that level.
In its statement, Athletics Kenya wished “strength to [Tirop’s] family and friends at this difficult time”.