Kenyan world record holder Agnes Tirop was found dead in her home in the western town of Iten, a training center for many athletes.
The two-time bronze medalist at the World Championships in Athletics, who finished fourth in the Olympic 5,000m final two months ago, was 25 years old.
Kenyan police told BBC Sport Africa they are still investigating the circumstances of his death, with crime scene investigators at his home on Wednesday.
Last month Tirop set the world record for a 10 km women-only road race in Germany.
“Athletics Kenya is upset this afternoon to learn of the untimely passing of 10,000m world bronze medalist Agnes Tirop,” the national athletics body said in a statement.
“We are still working to find out more details of his demise. Kenya has lost a gem that was one of the fastest rising athletics giants on the international stage, thanks to its eye-catching performances on the track . “
At the 2020 Olympics in August, Tirop finished just outside the medal squares for the women’s 5,000m, behind Ethiopian bronze medalist Gudaf Tsegay by 0.75 seconds.
In addition to his bronze medals in the 10,000m at the 2017 and 2019 World Championships in Athletics, Tirop also impressed off the track.
In September, she clocked 30 minutes and a second in Herzogenaurach, Germany, slipping 28 seconds off the old 10 km road record set in 2002.
Tirop started his career as a junior athlete in 2011, winning two bronze medals in the 5,000m at the world junior championships that year.
Four years later, on a rapid rise, she won the senior cross country world championships in China, becoming the second youngest medalist at this level.
In its statement, Athletics Kenya wished “the strength of [Tirop’s] family and friends at this difficult time “.