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Olympic champ 'jumps' to his death

other Updated: May 16, 2011 23:09 IST

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Olympic marathon champion Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya died overnight at the age of 24 after falling from the second loor of his home in the town of Nyahururu, police said Monday.

"He fell from the balcony of his home after a row with his wife. We found him lying on the verandah with a broken skull," a police officer in the region, Jasper Ombati, said.

He added that police were investigation whether Wanjiru had committed suicide or whether he had jumped from the balcony and died accidentally.

Wanjiru made history at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when his winning time of 2 hours 6 minutes 32 seconds destroyed the 24-year-old Olympic record of 2:09:21 set in 1984 by Carlos Lopes of Portugal.

It gave Kenya its first Olympic marathon gold.

Over the past several months however, Wanjiru, who leaves behind one daughter, appeared to have entered a downhill spiral, making headlines more for his marital problems and court appearances than for his sporting achievements.

He was involved in a serious car crash in January and was scheduled to re-appear before a Nyahururu court next Monday, accused of being in possession of an unlicensed firearm.

He had earlier been charged with threatening to kill his wife but she subsequently withdrew the charges.