Norwegian swimmer Alexander Dale Oen, who took gold in last year's World Championships, died late Monday in Flagstaff, Ariz., according to Norway's swimming federation.
Dale Oen, 26, was found collapsed in his shower after a training session. Emergency responders attempted to resuscitate him but were unable to do so. He was pronounced dead around 9 p.m. at a Flagstaff hospital. According to the BBC, Norwegian Swimming Federation President Per Rune Eknes is calling the cause of death cardiac arrest.
Last July, Dale Oen won gold in the 100m breaststroke at the World Championships in Shanghai.
"He was quick," BBC's Chris Mitchell said of Dale Oen in Shanghai. "His time of 57.81 seconds was the fourth fastest in history and a Norwegian record. It is unusual for a swimmer to win so convincingly over such a short distance but Dale Oen was inspired and led from start to finish."
At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Dale Oen claimed silver in the same event. It was Nordic country's first Olympic medal in swimming. The swimming star was expected to have a strong showing again at this summer's games in London.
According to friends, the swimmer showed no signs poor health prior to his passing.
"We are all in shock… our thoughts go primarily to his family who have lost Alexander way too early," Norway swim coach Petter Loevberg said.
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg also sent along his condolences.
"Alexander Dale Oen was a great athlete for a small country. My thoughts go to his family and friends."
In his last tweet, Dale Oen wrote about wrapping up training in Arizona and returning home:
2 days left of our camp up here in Flagstaff,then its back to the most beautiful city in Norway.. #Bergen— Alexander Dale Oen (@alexdaleoen) April 30, 2012