El Salvador's top surfer, Katherine Diaz, who had been preparing for the sport's Olympic debut this summer, has been struck and killed by lightning during a training session, The Guardian reported.
Local media said the 22-year-old was at El Tunco Beach, around 10 miles (16km) south of the capital San Salvador, when she was hit by lightning shortly after entering the ocean.
"A great athlete who has represented our country has left us," the Salvadoran Surf Federation said in a post paying tribute to Katherine Diaz on social media. "See you soon, great warrior. El Salvador is in mourning."
The 22-year-old Katherine Diaz had entered the water to start a training session on Friday near her home in El Tunco when she was struck. Emergency services tried to revive her on the beach, but the attempts were unsuccessful. Spanish newspaper AS reported that a sudden change in weather had caught those on the beach by surprise: "the sky was clear and it was an unforeseen storm that did not seem to carry much electrical intensity either."
The International Surfing Association paid tribute to Diaz in a Facebook post.
"It is with a heavy heart that the ISA has learned about the passing of El Salvador's Katherine Diaz," read the statement. "Katherine embodied the joy and energy that make surfing so special and dear to us all, as a global ambassador of the sport."
Diaz was preparing for May's ISA World Surf Games in El Salvador, which will act as a qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics.
Diaz's funeral was on Sunday - media in El Salvador tweeted a picture of her surfboard next to her coffin, along with flowers and photos.