Five-time World Enduro Champion Mika Ahola, who recently announced his retirement from racing, passed away on the night of January 15-16 in a hospital in Barcelona, Spain. He was 37.
The Finn's death is apparently related to an internal injury he suffered while training in Spain a few weeks ago and occurred only a few hours after having undergone surgery. The exact cause of his passing has yet to be determined.
He is survived by his wife, Marika.
Ahola won five consecutive World Enduro Championships from 2007 to 2011 - in three different classes (E1, E2 and E3). He also won the prestigious International Six Days Enduro title on seven occasions as part of Team Finland - and also claimed three individual titles at the event.
Ahola rode for Husqvarna, TM and VOR before joining Honda for the last five years of his Enduro career.
Ahola had announced his retirement from off-road racing on January 1. "I gave it my all, and even though the sport took a lot, it also rewarded me with more than I could have ever imagined when I first started," he said at the time.
"I have fulfilled my ambitions and I feel that it is time to move on and see what else the world has to offer."