POSTED: Friday, February 21, 2014 - 1:36pm
UPDATED: Friday, February 21, 2014 - 1:37pm
CNN — Tragedy has struck ahead of the 2014 Paralympic Games with the death of Australian para-snowboarder Matthew Robinson following a heart attack.
The 28-year-old Robinson suffered neck and spinal injuries after a crash in La Molina, a ski resort in Catalonia, Spain, on February 12.
His spent eight days in a Barcelona hospital recovering and was then cleared to be flown back to Australia.
But during a planned refueling stop in Nairobi, Kenya, Robinson suffered a cardiac arrest and could not be revived.
Robinson competed in upper limb impairment disciplines.
Although para-snowboarding will make its Paralympic debut in Russia next month, upper limb impairment disciplines will not be contested.
"The Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) is deeply saddened by the tragic passing of para-snowboarder Matthew Robinson," read an APC statement.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Matthew's parents, his fiancee, his family and his teammates. Our immediate concern is to do everything possible to support them at this extremely sad and difficult time."
Robinson suffered from arthrogryposis, a condition which affects joints.
"The whole of the Paralympic Movement is deeply saddened by this heart breaking tragedy," International Paralympic Committee (IPC) president Philip Craven said in a statement.
"Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Matthew's fiancee, family, friends and teammates at this difficult time.
"Matthew was a world class and extremely popular athlete, a fact underlined by the vast number of support messages he received from around the world following last week's accident. He sustained his injuries doing the sport he loved most.
"The IPC and whole of the Paralympic Movement are in deep mourning at his passing. The Movement is a close knit family and he will be sadly missed by all."
The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games will begin on March 7.