Chen Guanming, the Chinese farmer who traveled by rickshaw to the last three Summer Olympics, died this week, a friend confirmed.
Chen, believed to be in his early 60s, was hit by a truck in Argentina late Thursday night, friend John Beeston said.
“It’s very sad, and it’s shaken a lot of people,” said Beeston, a British insurance broker who first met Chen in London in 2012. “He made so many friends and did so much good for the Chinese community. Since he crossed over Canada and down to the Americas [for the Rio Games], everywhere he’s won more and more friends.”
Chen made headlines around the world for taking his rickshaw to the first Olympics in his home nation in Beijing in 2008, traveling 500 miles.
He then traveled across 16 countries, some 37,000 miles, in just over two years, to make it to the London Games.
“I’m a big fan of Olympic Games,” he told the BBC in 2012.
For Rio 2016, Chen flew to Canada and took his rickshaw through the U.S. and Central America to Brazil. He planned to take his rickshaw to Tokyo in 2020.
“I have seen the world and made many friends,” Chen said in Rio, according to USA Today. “I want to tell the world that the Olympics is about peace.”