TORONTO — Retired tennis player Bruno Agostinelli Jr., a former University of Kentucky star and member of Canada’s Davis Cup team, died in a motorcycle crash near Toronto Wednesday at age 28.
Tennis Canada confirmed Agostinelli’s death in a statement on Thursday. The statement did not indicate a cause of death, but Global News confirmed Agostinelli was killed in the crash in Vaughan on Wednesday night.
“This news has shocked and saddened our entire organization and the tennis community today,” Kelly Murumets, president and CEO for Tennis Canada. said in a statement.
“Bruno was simply a terrific person. Humble about his accomplishments, caring and kind towards his players, and passionate about his job, his life and his family. This is a truly devastating loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bruno’s family and everyone who loved him dearly, as we did.”
Agostinelli was killed after leaving a coaching session at Tennis Canada headquarters in north-end Toronto on his motorcycle, according to Doug Carter of the Niagara Academy of Tennis in Vineland.
Toronto police said a 2005 Kawasaki motorcycle collided with a 2007 Lexus near Steeles Avenue and Islington Avenue in Vaughan Wednesday at about 6:30 p.m. For reasons not yet determined, the driver of the motorcycle lost control and struck the rear of the Lexus and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Agostinelli, a native of Niagara Falls, Ont., captured a fifth and deciding rubber for Canada at a Davis Cup tie versus Peru in 2009.
“Bruno really was a hardworking individual. He put 100 per cent into his athletics as he did his academics and he really had the world at his feet … just a wonderful human being,” said Patrick Chalmers a teacher at Agostinelli Jr.’s former high school Saint Paul Catholic High School in Niagara Falls, Ont.
“It’s a crippling loss for the family, but also for Niagara Falls and the sports community.”
Collegiately, Agostinelli was an all-American and named Kentucky’s male athlete of the year in 2009.
“We will dearly miss Bruno Agostinelli. He was great on the court and exemplified everything it means to be a Kentucky Wildcat off of it,” Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart said in a release. “My heart breaks for his family and we offer our deepest condolences.”
After retiring from professional tennis in 2009, Agostinelli was the national coach for under-14 players at Tennis Canada’s national junior training program in Toronto.
With files from Nick Westoll and Adam Miller
© 2016 The Canadian Press