By Robert A. Emmanuel
The nation has been sent into mourning after the tragic death of national cyclist Andre Simon early Thursday morning.
For more than a year after being critically injured on Sir George Walter Highway during a training ride, Simon, who was 35, had been fighting for his life at the TIRR Memorial Hospital in Texas, USA.
Simon’s family confirmed the news yesterday and wrote on social media thanking the public for their support during this difficult period.
“Thank you for all of your prayers and support and encouragement. It will never be forgotten,” wrote Dwayne Simon, Andre’s brother.
Immediately after the news broke, members of the cycling community and wider public expressed their anguish.
One commenter said, “Sleep in peace, Andre Simon. Heartfelt condolences to the family. The cycling and wider sport community mourns.”
“Really lost for words. You’ve fought for exactly 13 months…you were a positive, ambitious and encouraging soul. It’s been a pleasure knowing you…to your family (especially your son) who obviously gave their all and stuck with you until your final breath, I pray… grant them the strength to get through a time such as this,” another commentator expressed.
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cycling Federation, St Clair Williams, also expressed his grief.
“The Antigua and Barbuda Cycling Federation … would like to convey our sincere condolences to the family, the son, the members of the new club he would have started and everyone who would have been praying for him.
“The Antigua and Barbuda cycling community and cycling within the Caribbean would have lost a great individual,” he said.
The president reflected on Simon’s work ethic and contribution to the sporting fraternity.
“Andre Simon was a likeable person, easy to get along with, he is also a member of the triathlon association … Andre Simon was also once the national champion of Antigua and Barbuda and the OECS region so what he would have brought to the table…I think he would be greatly missed,” he said.
In May 2022, Simon and three fellow cyclists, Sean Weathered, Ghere Coates and Tiziano Rosignoli, were reportedly struck by motorist Kenyatta Benjamin who is facing criminal charges. While the others received minor injuries, Simon was left in critical condition.
However, he had put up a strong fight, overcoming several setbacks in recent months, leading to many persons hoping that the finish line to Simon’s full recovery was near.