Olympian Katie Archibald reveals she tried to save dying partner Rab Wardell, 37, as he suffered cardiac arrest

24 August 2022, 06:04 | Updated: 24 August 2022, 12:53

Rab Wardell, 37, died in his sleep overnight on Monday.
Rab Wardell, 37, died in his sleep overnight on Monday. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Olympian Katie Archibald has said she tried to save her dying partner, Rab Wardell, 37, as he suffered cardiac arrest.

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Mr Wardell won the elite men's title at the Scottish MTV XC Championships at the weekend, and appeared on television on Monday night to celebrate, hours before he tragically passed away in his sleep.

The 37-year-old, described as an "inspiration", recovered from three punctures during the race to take home the gold medal.

His win on Sunday was described as a "show of incredible resilience" by British Cycling.

Last night, the Scottish Cross Country Association said it was "devastated" to announce that the Glasgow rider had tragically died in his sleep.

His partner, Olympian Katie Archibald, later revealed she had tried to resuscitate him, saying she "can't describe" the pain of his death.

"I think you've heard that Rab died yesterday morning," she tweeted.

"I still don't understand what's happened; if this is real; why he'd be taken now - so healthy and happy.

"He went into cardiac arrest while we were lying in bed.

"I tried and tried, and the paramedics arrived within minutes, but his heart stopped and they couldn't bring him back.

"Mine stopped with it. I love him so much and need him here with me. I need him here so badly, but he's gone. I can't describe this pain.

"Thank you to those making tributes. I can't bear to talk about him in the past tense to say anything myself. You mean everything to me, Rab. I love you."

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Rab Wardell, 37, has died in his sleep.
Rab Wardell, 37, has died in his sleep. Picture: Alamy

A statement from the Scottish Cross Country Association read: "We have the saddest news to share with you all today.

"We are devastated to relay to you the tragic news that our friend, our Champion Rab Wardell has died overnight.

"Our deepest sympathy to his friends, family and loved ones. He will be truly missed by our community and his determination, talent and friendship will live on in all our hearts and memories.

"I’m sure more eloquent words will be written by many but RIP Rab. Our Champion, Our Inspiration, Our Friend."

Olympian Katie Archibald tried to save her partner
Olympian Katie Archibald tried to save her partner. Picture: Alamy

The champion rider, who was the partner of Olympic gold medalist Katie Archibald, took to Twitter on Sunday after taking home the gold.

He spoke of his excitement at having added to the junior title he'd won earlier in his career.

He posted: "Scottish Champion. It’s taken a few years but I can now add the Senior Cross Country title to the Junior and U23 ones I won nearly 2 decades ago."

He also appeared on BBC Scotland's 'The Nine' on Monday, where he spoke about the three punctures he overcame to beat his rivals.

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He joked: "Unfortunately I think I'm a little too well practiced in managing punctures!

"To be honest, it was a bit of a disaster, but I just had to keep on trucking and keep racing. "I guess I still felt confident that I'd be able to catch the leaders and win so I just gave it my best shot - what more can you do?"

Mr Wardell had been riding bikes from a young age but did not take up cycling or mountain biking as a sport until he was 15.

He was described as "humble and cheerful" by mountain biking journalist Chipps Chippendale after news of his death on Tuesday.

A statement from British Cycling said Mr Wardell was a "brilliant rider, friend and ambassador for our sport".

"Our thoughts are with his family and many friends," the governing body wrote.

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