Kamara James, who represented Team USA at the 2004 Olympic Games in fencing, has passed away at the age of 29.
USA Fencing posted the sad news on its official website and social media pages Tuesday, though it’s unclear exactly when James died.
James passed away in Modesto, California. She was born in Kingston, Jamaica, before moving to Queens, New York, at the age of 10. She received a full scholarship to Princeton, where she graduated in 2007.
USA Fencing President Don Anthony issued this statement on James:
Kamara James was one of the brightest, precocious, self-assured young people I ever met. From her time as a very young fencer at the Peter Westbrook Foundation to her years at Princeton as an accomplished Olympian she remained warm, caring and confident. Kamara’s untimely passing leaves our fencing community very saddened and her spirit, charm and wit will be dearly missed.
In a post on its official Facebook page Sunday, the Jamaican Fencing Federation described Kamara as a “shining star among her peers.”
James’ first Olympics was the 2004 Athens Games when she was 19. She won bronze at the Junior World Championships in 2003 and was a member of the Senior National Team since 16.
Unfortunately, mental illness proved Kamara’s most unrelenting adversary. Still, just prior to her death, she had resumed a stable drug regimen, was living comfortably and had begun thinking about the future.
There’s no word yet on memorial services for James.