Speed skating: Korean champion Noh dies of bone cancer at 23

Noh Jin Kyu leading the pack at the men's 1,500m final of the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Shanghai, on March 9, 2012.
Noh Jin Kyu leading the pack at the men's 1,500m final of the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Shanghai, on March 9, 2012. PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea's world-record holding short track speed skater Noh Jin Kyu has died after a battle with bone cancer, his family said on Monday. He was 23.

Noh's sister, speed skater Noh Seon Yeong, posted on her brother's Facebook page that he had died on Sunday evening.

Noh Jin Kyu rose to prominence as an 18-year-old when he won the overall title at the International Skating Union World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in 2011 in Sheffield, England.

He set new world marks in the 1,500m and 3,000m the same year - records that still stood at the time of his death.

Noh was first diagnosed with a benign tumour in his left shoulder in 2013 but put off surgery to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

He was unable to take part in the Sochi Games after breaking his elbow during practice.

When he underwent surgery for his elbow in January 2014, doctors discovered a 13cm-long malignant tumour in his left shoulder.

Following the news of his death, there were immediate tributes from some of the sport's past and present champions.

"Short Track lost one of the greats today," tweeted US speed skater J.R. Celski, a three-time Olympic medallist and current 500m world record holder.

"So sad to hear about Noh Jin Kyu. He will be missed," tweeted Dutch Olympic champion Jorien ter Mors.