CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is a neurodegenerative disease most commonly found in football players and other professional athletes who have suffered multiple concussions. After Mirra’s death, his family requested that his brain be studied for CTE, according to ESPN. Mirra is the first action sports athlete to be diagnosed with the disease that can lead to dementia, memory loss and depression, per ESPN.
University of Toronto neuropathologist Dr. Lili-Naz Hazrati concluded that Mirra suffered from CTE before his death at 41 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Feb. 4, the outlet reports. Multiple neuropathologists have confirmed the diagnosis.
“It’s assumed it is related to multiple concussions that happened years before,” Hazrati told ESPN The Magazine of how Mirra developed the disease.
The award-winning BMX icon fractured his skull when he was hit by a car at age 19 and also suffered countless concussions during his decades-long BMX career, ESPN reports.
Mirra is survived by his wife, Lauren, and two children. Mirra’s agent, Steve Astephen, told PEOPLE in a statement at the time of his death: “Dave’s wife and family are shocked and saddened by the loss of such a remarkable person whom they loved so deeply. Thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers and for respecting their privacy through this difficult time.”