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Fabian Schulze

Photo: Press photo Baumann / IMAGO

Former pole vaulter Fabian Schulze is dead. As the German Athletics Association announced, Schulze died in his adopted home of Sonthofen a few days before his 40th birthday.

The cause of death was a “treacherous illness” that was not described in more detail.

Schulze started for LG Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Salamander Kornwestheim-Ludwigsburg, LG Stadtwerke Munich and VfL Sindelfingen.

Schulze was fourth at the 2006 World Indoor Championships in Moscow, fifth at the 2005 European Indoor Championships in Madrid, sixth at the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona and was German runner-up four times.

His best height of 5.83 meters brought him to ninth place on the German best list.

"Fabian became a friend during our time together at Kornwestheim and in Munich," said former top German sprinter Tobias Unger about Schulze's death.

“I am deeply sad and can hardly find words.”

Schulze leaves behind his wife and two children.

For the sport, it is the second tragedy in twelve months: a year ago, Tim Lobinger, figurehead of the "golden generation" in German pole vaulting, died as a result of leukemia.