Horse racing fans were devastated this week to learn that iconic champion jockey Filip Minarik killed himself.
According to The Sun, the 48-year-old athlete's death came three years after "a horrific fall left him with a devastating brain injury."
The Mirror quoted his widow as telling GaloppOnline, "We have fought so hard, but in the end we lost the battle against the ever-increasing depression. We need time to realize and process what has happened."
Born in what was then Czechoslovakia, Thoroughbred Daily News recalled how Minarik's racing career began just over three decades ago in Germany.
The publication noted how before his July 2020 fall, Minarik had managed to rack up an impressive 1,669 race wins.
That record included winning championships in 2005, 2011, 2016 and 2017. While the paper noted that Germany had become Minarik's "second home," he also raced in Japan, France, and the United Kingdom as well.
The latter included captaining the winning European team in the Shergar Cup of 2019 at Ascot Racecourse while riding Stone of Destiny.
However, Minarik's career would come to an abrupt halt the next year when he tumbled from his mount at Mannheim.
That accident resulted in multiple broken bones along with serious brain injuries which left the jockey in a four-week-long coma.
Daniel Krüger serves as managing director of Deutscher Galopp, and he told the Daily News, "With Filip Minarik we are losing a valued colleague and true friend who loved horse racing since he was a child. I am shocked and deeply saddened."
Other tributes to Minarik quickly appeared on social media, including from fellow jockey and brand ambassador Luke Morris, who tweeted that his fallen colleague was a "fantastic jockey" as well as an "even better person."
Very very sad day RIP Filip.
Fantastic Jockey even better person
This was only Sunday in Baden. pic.twitter.com/Lwnp8tRiMH
— Luke Morris (@Luke_Morris88) September 5, 2023
Sports broadcaster Matt Chapman spoke up as well, saying, "So sad to report former 4-time German champion jockey [and] Prague-born Filip Minarik has passed."
So sad to report former 4-time German champion jockey & Prague-born Filip Minarik has passed. Life was so hard for him after a horrific fall at Mannheim in 2020. Loved the guy - & he loved the sport. Leaves behind a young daughter - she will one day know her dad was a star. #RIP pic.twitter.com/kKeCt8tBRk
— Matt Chapman (@MCYeeehaaa) September 5, 2023