Thomas Bach and Sebastian Coe led the tributes to two-time world bronze medalist Agnes Tirop, who was found dead at her home in Kenya at the age of 25.
Tirop finished fourth in the 5,000m at the Tokyo Olympics this summer and won bronze at the 10,000m world championships in 2017 and 2019.
Describing Tirop as “a young and bright talent”, President of the International Olympic Committee Bach added: “His performances at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 have given hope and inspiration to so many people. My thoughts are with the Kenyan Olympic community and in particular their friends and family. “
World Athletics President Coe said: “Athletics has lost one of its brightest young stars in the most tragic circumstances.
“This is a terrible blow to the whole athletics community, but especially to his family, friends and Athletics Kenya and I send them our deepest condolences.”
Athletics Kenya confirmed the news earlier on Wednesday, saying it was working to uncover more details of Tirop’s death.
“Kenya lost a gem that was one of the fastest rising athletics giants on the international stage, thanks to its eye-catching performances on the track,” Athletics Kenya said in a statement.
“Last month, she broke the women’s 10k women’s record in the Road to Records race in Germany, with a time of 30:01.
“We pray that God will give strength to family and friends during this difficult time.”