11 Nov 2015

Triathlon community mourns the death of Laurent Vidal

7:26 am on 11 November 2015

The French triathlete Laurent Vidal, who came in fifth at the London 2012 Olympics, has died of a heart attack aged 31.

Andrea Hewitt and Laurent Vidal.

Andrea Hewitt and Laurent Vidal. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Vidal was the fiancé and coach of the New Zealand triathlete Andrea Hewitt.

Vidal had already suffered one heart attack last year.

Hewitt was with Vidal when he died and is now with his family in France.

Vidal was a three-times French champion.

Triathlon New Zealand paid tribute to the man who described himself as "49 percent Kiwi."

In 2014, Vidal suffered a cardiopulmonary arrest while swimming in France, bringing to an end his competitive career and leading him into fulltime coaching, including working with Hewitt the Triathlon New Zealand High Performance Programme.

The former New Zealand triathlete James Elvery was a close friend of Vidal's, with the Frenchman serving as his best man when he married in July.

"We are all just shattered, this is just awful news. I have spoken to Andrea and she is in a state of shock right now trying to come to terms with what has happened, we all are.

"She is with Laurent's family and they are supporting each other in this time of grief.

"Laurent was always so positive. A real inspiration to me and to so many people around the world."