A nephew of the Dalai Lama was killed on a road in Florida during a trek to raise awareness of the Tibetan struggle for independence from China.
Jigme Norbu, 45, was struck by a sport utility vehicle on state road A1A along Florida's eastern coast on Monday evening, the highway patrol reported.
Norbu was on a 300-mile "Walk for Tibet" from St Augustine to West Palm Beach. He had done similar walks several times before, including one of 900 miles in 2009 from Indiana to New York.
That walk marked the 50th anniversary of the failed Tibetan rebellion against Chinese rule that resulted in the exile of his uncle, who is Tibet's spiritual leader. Norbu, of Bloomington, Indiana, is the son of the Dalai Lama's late brother, Taktser Rinpoche.
Pierre Tristam, the editor of flaglerlive.com, a community non-profit news service, said Norbu was walking along the white line on the side of the unlit road when he was hit.
The incident happened about 25 miles south of St Augustine, where Norbu had begun his journey with several others.
The SUV was driven by 31-year-old Keith O'Dell of Palm Coast, who had his two young children with him, according to the highway patrol's report. They were not injured, and O'Dell was not charged.
China claims Tibet as part of its territory, but many Tibetans say Chinese rule deprives them of religious freedom. Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of pushing for Tibetan autonomy and fomenting anti-Chinese protests.