Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Gareth Cowin death: Olympian's family 'overwhelmed' by support

Gareth Cowin
Image caption Gareth Cowin was excited about helping the Manx team to retain the gold medal in floor hockey

The family of a Manx Special Olympian who died in South Korea have said they are overwhelmed by the support they have received on and off the island.

Gareth Cowin, 25, died in PyeongChang whilst representing the island at the Special Olympics World Winter Games.

His father Kevin said: "We have been overwhelmed by the strength of feeling for Gareth. It demonstrated just how popular he was."

Mr Cowin was at his son's side when he died on Wednesday.

A spokesman for Special Olympics Isle of Man said: "We would like to thank all those who have been so supportive at this time of great sadness."

Football and hockey teams in the Isle of Man held a minute's applause ahead of fixtures this weekend.

'Sorely missed'

The spokesman continued: "Gareth was one of our most dedicated, enthusiastic and popular athletes whose absence will be sorely missed."

The 25-year-old, who died after becoming ill, had been hoping to help the Isle of Man defend their floor hockey title.

The team continued to play with his father's blessing, narrowly missing out on a bronze medal after losing to Afghanistan.

The family also thanked the medical team at Asan Medical Centre in Seoul, for their assistance.

The organising committee said athletes from each of the 111 competing countries would wear ribbons during the closing ceremony on 5 February.

Special Olympics is a worldwide organisation offering sports for people with learning disabilities.

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