BMX pro Randy Taylor, dead at 26

Randy Taylor in Austin, Texas in 2010. Sandy Carson

BMX professional and groundbreaking street rider Randy "The Don" Taylor of Forth Worth, Texas, was found dead early Sunday. He was 26. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Originally from Fort Worth, Taylor was a sponsored professional for the Mutiny Bikes team from approximately 2007 through April 2012. Taylor had a signature frame dubbed the "Loosefer" which was available in top tube sizes that included 20.666 inches, and additionally rode for brands that included Etnies Footwear, Demolition Parts and éclat.

Taylor had breakout sections in videos such as Mutiny's "Stoked On Being Pumped," "Road Fools 17," and clips in "Let's Get Mystical," as well as a jaw-dropping 2008 video bio in issue 69 of Props Video Magazine. Taylor's riding was as well-rounded as it could possibly be. He was no stranger to technical flatland-inspired combinations on street, but was also never afraid to fire himself down huge handrails or tailwhip what was arguably the biggest set of stairs to date on a BMX bike (as seen on the cover of Ride UK BMX Magazine several years ago.)

In early 2010, Taylor suffered a spiral fracture in his leg, which kept him off the bike for the majority of the year. Ensuing nerve damage required Taylor to undergo additional surgeries in his leg, to remove the hardware to stabilize the bones from the previous fracture. In July 2011, he was able to start riding again after a year and a half, but required additional surgery in November 2011 to reduce pain in his foot and leg.

Taylor quietly stepped away from the BMX spotlight earlier this year, and while he continued to ride, he was doing it without the pressure of sponsors or video deadlines. Plenty of video proof shows Taylor's amazing exploits on a BMX bike, and I can't overlook how genuinely friendly and gracious Randy was as a person.

Following his clips in "Stoked On Being Pumped," Taylor was at Interbike in Las Vegas several years ago when I met him. I automatically commented on how great his riding was, and he seemed stunned, unable to comprehend that people were appreciative of his riding, almost guarded. He thanked me over and over every time I saw him for the remainder of the week, and that always stuck with me. From that moment on, I counted him as a friend.

His presence will forever be missed, as well as his recent penchant for Instagram likes, but his influence on riding and graciousness as a person will remain. Rest in peace, friend.