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Kazakh Olympic Figure Skater Killed In Stabbing Attack


Denis Ten of Kazakhstan competes in the men's free skate figure skating final at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakh figure skater Denis Ten has died of injuries after he was stabbed by unknown assailants.

Health Ministry officials told RFE/RL that Ten died in an Almaty hospital, to which he had been taken with stab wounds on July 19.

Almaty police say that preliminary investigations revealed that Ten was stabbed after he confronted two unknown men as they were trying to steal the mirrors from his car.

He was reportedly stabbed in the lower torso.

"He was taken to the emergency room," chief doctor Erzhan Kuttykozhin said. "He was operated on for more than two hours. Doctors did everything possible, but vital organs were compromised."

Ten, who turned 25 last week, was a bronze medalist at the Sochi Olympics in 2014, and won bronze and silver at the world championships in 2013 and 2015.

He was the first Kazakh skater ever to win an Olympic medal.

The International Skating Union (ISU) issued a statement saying it was "deeply saddened" by the news.

Kazakh Sports and Culture Minister Arystanbek Mukhamediuly called Ten's death "terrible and unjust."

Kazakh Olympic Committee President Timur Kulibayev said in a statement that "today is truly a dark day for all of us who knew and loved this young figure skater and were inspired by his talent and creativity."

"I saw him in Sochi," Russian speed skater Aleksandr Kibalko said. "I was rooting for my former countryman, since I was born in Kazakhstan myself. This is a huge tragedy for the sports world, for figure skating in particular."

Ten trained in Moscow and in the United States. He skated at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where he finished 11th. Dogged by injuries, he finished 27th earlier this year at the Olympics in South Korea.

With reporting by Reuters and AP
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