Tributes have been paid to talented British snowboarder Ellie Soutter, who died on her 18th birthday on Wednesday.
Soutter won bronze at the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival last year, claiming Team GB’s only medal.
Writing on Facebook, her father Tony Soutter said he was “so proud of the beautiful young woman she had turned into”.
“This cruel world took my Soulmate and ‘Bessie’ from me yesterday on her 18th birthday,” he wrote.
“Ellie I will miss you more than you could have ever imagined. Rest in peace you little Champion!”
No further details have been given about her death but she was reportedly found dead in woodland in the French Alps, where she lived with her father.
Eight-time British ski-cross champion Emily Sarsfield and Olympic champion Amy Williams are among those to have paid tribute to the teen.
The British Olympic Association (BOA) said it was “saddened” to hear of her death and urged people to contact the Samaritans.
In a joint statement, BOA chair Hugh Robertson and BOA Athlete Commission chair Ben Hawes said: “Ellie was an incredibly popular and well-liked member of the team.
“Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.”
— Amy Williams (@AmyWilliamsMBE) July 27, 2018
British Ski and Snowboard called her “one of the country’s best up-and-coming snowboarders”.
Soutter, who grew up in Surrey before moving to the Alps, had spent 2017-18 season competing on the Freeride Junior Tour.
Waking up to the most devastating news this morning. My thoughts and prayers go out to Ellie Soutter's family. We've lost a fellow snowboarder and a great inspirational talent within our small community. XXX pic.twitter.com/Qs7lqZTqUw
— Aimee Fuller (@aimee_fuller) July 27, 2018
Earlier in July, she was named in the senior Great Britain squad for the snowboard cross Europa Cup circuit and was tipped for a place at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
She was due to return to snowboard cross competition next month after being selected in the British team for the Junior World Championships in New Zealand.