Cameron Burrell 'never felt' need to chase Olympian parents' legacy, dad Leroy mourns son's loss

A prodigy from his childhood, Cameron Burrell came from a family teeming with star athletes

                            Cameron Burrell 'never felt' need to chase Olympian parents' legacy, dad Leroy mourns son's loss
Cameron Burrell died tragically at the age of 26 (Instagram/Cameron Burrell)

The tragic death of NCAA Champion and America's fastest college athlete Cameron Burrell has left the sports fraternity devastated. The 26-year-old track-and-field champion died in a parking garage from unknown causes on Monday, August 8, 2021. Ever since the news was shared by his alma mater, the University of Houston, condolences have poured in for the Burrell family — often hailed as the 'fastest family' in the world for their brilliant legacy. 

A prodigy from his childhood, Cameron Burrell came from a family teeming with star athletes. His father, Leroy Burrell, had clinched the gold medal in the 4x100 meter relay at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, while his mother Michelle won the gold in the women's 4x100 meter relay the same year. His aunt and Leroy Burrell's sister Dawn Burrell is a former national gold medalist in long jump. Cameron Burrell was also the godson of legendary track-and-field icon Carl Lewis who had nine Olympic gold medals to his name. Cameron's younger brother Joshua Burrell is a star footballer at the University of Houston.


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Born on September 11, 1994, Cameron Burrell was surrounded by athletics while growing up. Though his family never forced him to get into athletics, he discovered his passion for the sports at a very young age. While attending Ridge Point High School in Missouri City, Texas, a young Cameron participated regularly at track-and-field competitions. In 2011, he competed at the World Youth Championships as a junior, followed by the World Junior Championships in Barcelona in 2012. There he was a part of the United States 4x100 meter relay team which won gold. He then participated in the 2013 Pan American Junior Championships in Medellin. 

After graduating high school, Cameron attended University of Houston — his father's alma mater where the latter was also serving as a track-and-field coach. Training under his father's expert guidance, Cameron Burrell soon emerged to be the leading collegiate athlete in the country. In 2018, he became the NCAA Division I champion in 100 meters matching his father's victory. His relay team also won a gold at the 2018 Athletics World Cup and a silver at the 2019 World Relays.


Cameron had topped his father's record running time of 9.93 seconds in 100 meters by a margin of 0.01 seconds. Despite the incredible feat, he admitted that he never felt any need to chase his family legacy. "I never felt like I had to chase my dad’s legacy or beat his time or match his accomplishments," Cameron candidly admitted in a 2020 interview with New York Times.

His untimely death comes as a shock to everyone. A heartbroken Leroy Burrell shared an emotional message stating, "My family is extremely saddened with the loss of our son, Cameron, last night. We are going through profound sorrow and ask that all of our friends, extended University of Houston family and the track and field community in the U.S. and abroad allow us to gather with our closest family and friends. We are profoundly grief-stricken and thank everyone for the outpouring of prayers and support."

Performance Coach Steve Magness tweeted, "My heart is broken. Words can’t express my heartbreak for the Burrell family. This family is the best. Absolutely amazing, genuine, loving, wonderful people. Devastated. Please keep the Burrell and UH track family in your prayers. RIP Cam."

Olympic Champion Brianna McNeal wrote, "So sad to hear what happened to Cameron Burrell. My heart goes out to his family. Praying God comforts them through the pain"

"⁩Woke up to this ungodly horrible news today. My mental health , heart has not been the same. Why Lord? But I Know you know http://best.Rest in Power Cameron Burrell ..gone to soon. Condolences and prayers to the Burrell family," tweeted Olympian Debbie Ferguson.

Canadian sprinter Calum Neff wrote, "So sad to hear about Cameron Burrell this morning. I remember him as a kid around the UH Track program, before he came through himself. I had just spoken with his Dad, Coach Burrell, last week about him. Sending my love to his family and Cougar family"





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