Ellie Soutter, one of the most talented young snowboarders in Britain, has died. Soutter, who earned the only medal for Britain at the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Erzurum, Turkey, passed away “suddenly” on her 18th birthday. Soutter was set to represent Team GB at the Junior World Championships in New Zealand. The British Olympic Association confirmed her passing.
“Ellie was an incredibly popular and well-liked member of the team,” British Olympic Association chair Hugh Robertson and BOA Athlete Commission chair Ben Hawes said in a joint statement, via the Independent. “Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.”
More information on Soutter’s death can be seen below.
Ellie Soutter Cause of Death: Suicide
UPDATE: Ellie Soutter’s family confirmed that she committed suicide in a remote wooded area near her home in France. Her body was discovered by police tracker dogs at 11:15 p.m. ET on her birthday. She took her life just before a birthday party that was planned with friends and family set to attend, according to the Mirror.
“Everything was already in place for tonight. Ellie had been looking forward to it. At least a dozen people were coming from the UK for it,” her uncle Jeremy said.
Soutter, whose birthday was on Wednesday, July 26, passed away on that day while home in the UK. She had been training abroad recently but was home at the time of her unexpected death. BSS has referred the media to the Samaritans, according to Sky Sports.
“Ellie was one of the country’s best up-and-coming snowboarders, competing in both snowboard cross and freeride,” British Ski and Snowboard said in a statement. “She spent the 2017/18 season competing on the Freeride Junior Tour but was due to return to snowboard cross competition next month after being selected in the British team for the Junior World Championships in New Zealand.
“She was an inaugural member of the British Europa Cup snowboard cross programme which commenced earlier this year. The thoughts and condolences of the British ski and snowboard community are with Ellie’s family, friends and teammates.”
Her father, Tony Soutter, issued a tribute to his daughter on social media which read:
“This cruel world took my Soul mate and ‘Bessie’ from me yesterday on her 18th birthday. I was so proud of the beautiful young woman she had turned into. Ellie I will miss you more than you could have ever imagined. Rest in peace you little Champion!”