JOCKEY Alex Canchari has 'died suddenly' aged 29.
The US-based rider was said to have passed away 'unexpectedly', leaving behind a wife and two children.
Canchari – whose youngest daughter Penelope had just turned two – had ridden over 1,000 winners and earned more than £23.4million on the track.
His sister Ashley confirmed his shock passing in an emotional Facebook post on Thursday morning.
She wrote: "My heart physically hurts. I’m so sorry you were in so much pain Alex and thought there was no other way out.
"I know you’re happy again with Dad. I don’t even know what else to say, this is an unbelievable loss."
Terry Meyocks, CEO and president of the Jockeys' Guild, said: "It's extremely sad.
"That family has been through so much the last three years."
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Alex's older brother Patrick was critically injured in a car crash in March 2020.
He suffered a traumatic brain injury and has endured severe ongoing health problems as a result.
Alex's dad Luis – who the jockey was said to be 'extremely close' with – passed away in December the same year.
No details have emerged of the circumstances surrounding Canchari's death.
The jockey – whose eldest child is about to turn four – was incredibly popular with punters and regarded a true fan favourite.
He raced frequently at Canterbury Park, a track based in Minnesota.
Devastated friends and racing fans paid their own tributes online.
One wrote: "You never know what pain someone is carrying, even when they're laughing."
Another said: "Waking up to the tragic news of the passing of Alex Canchari and everything comes to a pause.
"He was the first ever jockey I talked to and a great friend."
While one message read simply: "A terrible loss."
Canchari's tragic death comes less than a month after fellow US rider Avery Whisman passed away aged 23.
Legendary jockey Mike Smith was among those who paid tribute to his 'little brother'.
One report said Whisman had suffered a 'prolonged struggle with the unrelenting physical and mental demands put on riders'.
His sister Emma told bloodhorse.com: "He had the biggest heart. He wanted everyone to know they were loved and cherished by him.
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"We are not ashamed of what happened. We hope this tragedy can help someone else.
"We never want anyone to go through the pain we are suffering."
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