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Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@katherinecook7
Katherine Diaz Hernandez, who was a member of El Salvador's national surfing team, has sadly died after being struck by lightning while out on the water.
Diaz was expected to represent her country at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in less than three months' time.
She was just 22 years of age.
Katherine embodied the joy and energy that make surfing so special and dear to us all, as a global ambassador of the sport. She excelled at the int'l competition level, representing her country with pride at both the World Surfing Games and ISA World Jr Surfing Championship. pic.twitter.com/IdzbvisUrv- ISA (@ISAsurfing) March 21, 2021
El Salvador's National Institute of Sports (INDES) confirmed the devastating news, adding that Diaz had been practicing near her home of El Tunco beach when she was killed.
INDES president Yamil Bukele lead the emotional tributes as messages of support came flooding in from surfing fans all over the globe.
Bukele tweeted: "A great loss for our sport. All our solidarity for the surf family. I accompany them in their pain."
While Diaz's teammate Josselyn Alabi added: "Her loss in the waves hurts and impacts us."
The Salvadoran Surf Federation also passed on their condolences, saying: "A great athlete who has represented our country has left us. See you soon, great warrior. El Salvador is in mourning."
#EnDesarrollo ' Madre de Katherine: «Ella me decía mamita yo voy a competir en el mundial y te vas a sentir orgullosa de mí... ¡Ay Dios mío! casi todos sus sueños los cumplía, solo este no». Video: David Carpio/ #DiarioElSalvador pic.twitter.com/Quc8LKTrfO- Diario El Salvador (@elsalvador) March 21, 2021
Una gran pérdida para nuestro deporte. Toda nuestra solidaridad para la familia del surf. Los acompaño en su dolor. https://t.co/7Bn5BrJHr4- Yamil Bukele (@ybukele) March 21, 2021
Very, very sad news.
Rest In Peace, Katherine.