Olympic ice dancer Chris Reed tragically dies at 30

Three-time Olympic ice dancer Chris Reed, who competed on behalf of Japan, passed away on Saturday, March 14. The athlete died at age 30 while in Detroit after suffering a sudden heart attack, according to Extra.

Reed's younger sister, Allison, shared the sad news on Instagram: "It deeply saddens me to tell you all my brother, my sweet, kind, charismatic, and loving big brother Chris, has passed away suddenly over the weekend." She continued, "Words just cannot describe how much this pains me. Chris was such a pure spirit." 

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A post shared by Allison Reed (@al_reed15) on Mar 16, 2020 at 9:42pm PDT

Allison concluded her message, "He filled any room he walked into with so much joy and laughter. He always knew how to make me smile. I love you bro." Comments flooded the post, describing Reed's death as "unexpected" and "sudden" and offering condolences to the family. 

Reed's girlfriend Kerstin Frank, a figure skating coach, also posted about the tragedy, writing, "You will always be the love of my life...my soulmate...my match made in heaven. I know we will be together one day again my love. You are such a special person to me and everyone who had the chance to get to know you."

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A post shared by Kerstin Frank (@kerstinfrank88) on Mar 17, 2020 at 1:06am PDT

According to The Japan Times, the president of the Japan Skating Federation Akihisa Nagashima said, "I am absolutely stunned by the sad news. I would like to offer my deepest appreciation to Chris Reed for his contribution to Japanese ice dancing over the years and extend condolences to his family. May Mr. Reed rest in peace." 

Chris Reed represented Japan in the Olympics

Born in Kalamazoo, Mich., Chris Reed began skating with his older sister, Cathy, when she was 7 and he was 5, according to The Japan Times. In an interview with the newspaper in 2007, Reed explained how he and his sister entered the world of skating: "Our mom loved the sport of ice skating. She never skated, but she loved watching it. We just kept skating for fun and entering local competitions."

In 2006, Reed and his sister won the national novice title in the U.S., according to NBC Sports. Their father is American and their mother is Japanese. The sibling pair decided to represent Japan, a decision which no doubt delighted the country, since Reed and his sister were very successful. 

According to The Japanese Times, "From the 2007-08 season to the 2014-15 campaign, the Reeds collected seven ice dance titles at the Japan Championships during their successful partnership." Following their wins at the Japan Championships, Reed and his sister decided to compete in the Olympics

Chris Reed's time at the Olympics

With the success the siblings experienced in Japan, Chris and Cathy Reed set their sights on the Olympics. According to The Japan Times, "The Reed siblings placed 14th at the 2010 Vancouver Games and 21st at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. They also finished fifth at the NHK Trophy in the 2012-13 season and fifth at Skate America the next season." The brother-sister pair also won a silver medal at the 2011 Asian Winter Games.

Following their success, Cathy decided to retire from the sport in 2015. Her brother created a new partnership with ice dancer Kana Muramoto, who previously was a Japanese single skater. According to NBC Sports, Reed and Muramoto scored three national titles and made it to the PyeongChang Olympics, ultimately coming in 15th place for their full season.

Muramoto shared her own heartfelt message for Reed on Instagram after his passing. She wrote, "Dear Chris, You will always and forever be a big part of my life and will forever be in my heart." She continued, "Thank you for all the moments we shared together ups and downs, on and off ice. You will be missed. Rest in Peace Chris." She also extended condolences to the whole Reed family.

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A post shared by Kana Muramoto (@k.a.n.a.m.u.r.a) on Mar 17, 2020 at 5:51am PDT

On the ice, Reed and Muramoto's partnership set a record of their own. According to The Japan Times, they became the first Asian ice dancers to win a medal in the ISU Championship in 2018.

Post-retirement, Chris Reed wanted to work as an ice dance coach

After Chris Reed's success with Kana Muramoto, he retired in December 2019, according to NBC Sports. An obituary from the International Skating Union shared that following his retirement, Reed planned on working as a "coach and help develop Ice Dance in Japan." Per NBC Sports, the former athlete "was busily preparing for his second career as a choreographer and ice dance coach with his sister Cathy in Japan."

The last post Reed ever shared on his Instagram was dedicated to all of the women in his life for International Women's Day. Reed captioned the series of photos, "Without you all, we men would be lost." 

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A post shared by Chris Reed (@chrisreed77) on Mar 8, 2020 at 5:21pm PDT

While it's already such a sweet post, it's even more tragic that it's Reed's last. Still, the comments are a testament to what a wonderful person he was. Someone wrote, "Not only were you an amazing skater but you were an amazing person." 

We send our deepest condolences to Reed's family and the rest of his friends and loved ones.