Following the sudden death of Ellie Soutter, a rising star in British snowboarding who died on her 18th birthday, Soutter’s friends and family are sharing touching tributes in her memory.
“Forever going to remeber [sic] all the beautiful times we had together. You are my Best Friend and always will be,” wrote Emily Arthur, an Australian athlete who competed in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
“Heaven gained someone special, and I’m so happy to have known you. To the most beautiful, talented, kind girl I know, Happy 18th Beautiful Ellie xx,” she added, alongside a series of photographs of the pair on the slopes.
Soutter’s friend Jess Boh, who was pictured with the snowboarder on her last social media post before her death, also penned a sweet tribute to her friend.
“I have no words,” she wrote. “I still can’t believe it. We are gonna miss you so much. You will be always in my hearts and I hope you will keep an eye on us. #rideforellie.”
Soutter, who won bronze at the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Turkey last year and had a shot at competing in the 2022 Winter Olympics, died on Wednesday.
An official cause of death has not yet been announced by authorities, but British Ski and Snowboard described her death as “sudden” in a statement released on Thursday. The U.K.’s governing body for snowsports included in the statement a link to Samaritans, a charity in the U.K. that works to “support anyone who needs someone to talk to,” according to its website.
Soutter — who was chosen to be a part of the British team for the Junior World Championships in New Zealand — grew up in Surrey before relocating to the Alps and had plans next month to return to competition, according to Sky News.
Her heartbroken father, Tony Soutter, paid tribute to his daughter via Facebook on Thursday, writing, “I was so proud of the beautiful young woman she had turned into.”
Along with a photograph of his daughter, he continued to write that he will “miss you more than you could have ever imagined. Rest in peace you little Champion!”
He added that “for those who would like to toast her amazing short life we will be raising a glass in memory of her this Friday 6.30pm at the Crychar Les Gets.”
Souter’s friend, French snowboarder Anna Martinez, appeared to share a video from a memorial for Soutter on Friday. In the short clip, which was shared on her Instagram story, several lighted paper luminaries were seen floating in the sky.
“For you my champion,” she wrote alongside the video.
The British Olympic Association also paid tribute to Soutter, writing that she “was an incredibly popular and well-liked member of the team.”
“Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time,” BOA chair Hugh Robertson and BOA athlete commission chair Ben Hawes said.
Reacting to the news via Twitter on Friday morning, Olympian Amy Williams wrote, “Such sad tragic news to wake up to. Thoughts and prayers go to Ellie Soutter’s family.”
Williams shared a post from Soutters’ friend Emily Sarsfield, who participated in the 2018 Winter Olympics as an English freestyle skier.
“So sad to hear the news of the passing of @elliesoutter,” wrote Sarsfield. “You really were an amazing girl! Such a fun teammate, made me smile everyday, cracking all the jokes and enjoying life to it’s fullest! I’m going to miss you and your amazing energy. 😘 All my thoughts to your family 🙏.”
New Zealand snowboarder Corrah Phillips also penned a lengthy message to her friend on Thursday.
“It was never long enough with you Ellie. A constant see you soon, will now last forever,” she remarked.
“Ellie you didn’t carry an inch of b—, you laughed about the crudest s—, and made the dullest of nights hilarious and f— mate did you have a stomach for VBs. The most alive person I knew, you embraced everyday with the most genuine notion. Ellie was the only person I have taken photos of that shocked me, there was something in her eyes, a spark, a knowledge, a fire…the most genuine legend,” she added. “Ellie I miss you, forever. #ellieforever #rideforellie.”