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Former short track world champion Noh dies aged 23

Gold medallist Noh Jin-Kyu (C) of South Korea, silver medallist J.R. Celski (L) of the U.S. and bronze medallist Semen Elistratov of Russia pose following the men's 1500 meter final during the ISU Short Track World Cup competition in Montreal, Quebec October 27, 2012. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea’s former short track world champion Noh Jin-kyu has died of cancer, the Korea Skating Union said on Monday. He was 23.

Noh’s sister, Olympic speed skater Seon-yeong, wrote on her Facebook page that he had passed away at 8 p.m. local time on Sunday.

Noh set world records in the 1,500 and 3,000 meters in 2011 and won the overall title at the International Skating Union’s World Short Track Speed Skating Championships that year.

He discovered a benign tumor in his left shoulder in September 2013 but delayed surgery to allow him to compete at the Sochi Winter Olympics early the following year.

However, Noh broke his elbow in practice a month before the Games and examinations showed he had developed osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, with the tumor growing to 13 centimeters.

Noh’s condition improved with treatment and he said last year that he would like to compete at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

However, his condition worsened and he passed away on Sunday.

Tributes and condolences poured in on Monday, with Dutch Olympic champion Jorien ter Mors saying on Twitter that the sport had “lost one of the greats”.

Italy’s Olympic silver medalist Arianna Fontana said on her Facebook page that Noh had taught her “what it means to be a true champion”.

Reporting by Nataly Pak; Editing by Peter Rutherford