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1ST LEAD German Olympics canoe coach dies of injuries after road accident By Derek Wilson, dpa

Europe
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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - German canoeing coach Stefan Henze has died of injuries suffered in traffic accident in Rio de Janeiro, the country‘s Olympic sports association DOSB said Monday.

Henze, 35, a silver medallist at the 2004 Athens Olympics, suffered serious head injuries and underwent an operation following the accident late Thursday.

Henze was returning to the Olympic village in a taxi with another member of the German slalom canoe team when the accident happened.

The other team official, Christian Kaeding, was slightly injured and later released from hospital.

The DOSB said Henze died in the presence of his family. His parents and brother had flown to Rio.

DOSB president Alfons Hoermann said: "We are extremely saddened. Words cannot remotely express what we feel in the Olympic team after this terrible loss."

A DOSB statement said Henze had emergency surgery at a clinic in Rio with special neurosurgical facilities. At the family‘s request, no further medical details will be released, it said.

Michael Vesper, the head of the German Olympic delegation, said: "Today sport is in the background for our entire team in Rio.

"Our thoughts are with Stefan Henze‘s family who had the opportunity here to say goodbye."

The DOSB statement quoted the coach‘s family as saying: "We know that Stefan‘s own Olympic thoughts continue to live in many people."

The German team will commemorate Henze at a memorial in the Olympic village on Tuesday. The International Olympic Committee will fly German flags at half mast at all Olympic sites at the DOSB‘s request.

Henze won a silver medal in the C-2 event at the 2004 Games alongside Marcus Becker.

Henze and Becker were world champions in 2003 and runners-up at the 2006 world championships.

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