Tim Lobinger shared his fate with his fans and spread a little bit of normality.
The seriously ill former world-class pole vaulter has appeared in numerous cheerful photos on social media in recent weeks - sometimes thoughtful, often with a smile and yet already heavily drawn. The news of his death caused great consternation in German sport. Lobinger, who had long fought cancer, died at the age of 50, his family confirmed to the German Press Agency. The "Rheinische Post" and RTL had previously reported.
"The former pole vault legend fell asleep peacefully in a small circle, he didn't lose the fight, he won it in his own way," says a statement from the family, which RTL and "Bild" spread.
"Now you are no longer in pain," wrote track and field athlete Sabrina Mockenhaupt. "Much strength to your whole family." Lobinger's last photo on the Instagram network was just a week old - now commented on with numerous expressions of condolence.
Blood cancer diagnosis in March 2017
"There will be no more healing for me. My cancer is too aggressive," Lobinger told the "Bild" newspaper in October last year. In February 2022, doctors told him his death was near. He should make arrangements, deal with his funeral and say goodbye to his loved ones. "Talking to my kids was tough. They know how bad it is for me," he said.
Lobinger was diagnosed with blood cancer in March 2017. After chemotherapy, stem cell donations, intermittent relapses and a brief liver failure in the summer of 2018, the 2003 indoor world champion was considered healthy again. In 2020, however, he had to undergo therapy again and received additional radiation.
Emotional interview last summer
Last summer, Lobinger reported emotionally about special moments during this time. "On that day I was just the father of the bride, not Tim, who was suffering from cancer. That was incredibly good for me," Lobinger told the magazine "Bunte" about the wedding of his daughter Fee, whom he had led to the altar. He helped plan the ceremony. "I stood between chemo stands and seriously ill people and talked to Fee about her wedding dress," said Lobinger.
In 1997, Lobinger was the first German staff artist to break the six-meter mark outdoors. In 2003 he won gold at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham. For many years, the extroverted athlete was one of the defining figures in his sport. After his career, he worked for four years as an athletic trainer with the footballers at RB Leipzig. "Our deepest sympathy goes to his family and friends," tweeted the Saxons. "Rest in peace Tim."
Lobinger, who was born in Rheinbach and started for Bayer Leverkusen, ASV Köln and Stadtwerke München, had won three medals at the outdoor European Championships: Silver in 1998 in Budapest and 2006 in Gothenburg and bronze in 2002 in Munich. In 1997 he jumped a German record of 6.00 meters in Cologne-Müngersdorf. It was only in 2012 that Olympic silver medalist Björn Otto surpassed this mark by one centimetre.
Lobinger was denied a medal at the Olympic Games and outdoor world championships. In 2011, the DLV honored the pole vaulter with the Rudolf Harbig Prize at the national title fights in Kassel.