The cycling community - athletes, teams, event organizers, and members of the media - expressed sadness following the announcement of the death of Sharon Laws Saturday. Laws died at age 43 of cervical cancer after being diagnosed with the disease in October 2016.
Laws, born in Kenya and grew up in Bourton-on-the-Water in Cotswolds, was well-respected among the professional cycling community. She raced at the top level of the sport for teams Team Halfords, Cervelo Test Team, AA Drink Leontien.nl, Lotto Ladies, UnitedHeathcare, Bigla and Podium Ambition.
During that time she earned a long list of accolades including stand-out performances that won her British road and time trial titles. She also represented her nation at the 2008 Olympic Games where she helped Nicole Cooke claim the gold medal in the road race.
Following her cancer diagnosis at the end of 2016, Laws continued to bring her expertise and knowledge of professional cycling to the community through a partnership with Voxwomen. Laws co-commentated for the 2017 season alongside Founder of Voxwomen Anthony McCrossan, even while undergoing cancer treatments.
McCrossan expressed his sadness at the loss of his friend and colleague, while also offering condolences to Laws' friends and family.
"Sharon was a force of nature. Her enthusiasm, talent, drive and energy were something to behold even in the midst of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and everything she was having to deal with," McCrossan told Cyclingnews.
"She was a great bike rider, a fantastic team rider and her knowledge was insightful and deep. I had the pleasure of knowing her as a rider and had the chance to work with her alongside me as a co-commentator and as a member of the Voxwomen team. Her blog race previews were stunning, her passion for cycling was unparalleled.
"Only 17 days ago she called me to tell me she was unhappy that her average speed on a ride was so slow. She was still riding through all of her treatment! We didn't know but that was her last chance to ride the bike. She will be missed terribly by all of us and by so many people she met across the world but she will leave a legacy of inspiration and a memory of her huge smile and infectious laugh. RIP Sharon."
Voxwomen, in agreement with Laws' family, wrote the following tribute.
Sharon Laws 1974 - 2017
After a 14 month battle with cervical cancer, 43-year-old Sharon Laws passed away peacefully this morning, with her close family at her side.
At the age of 33, Sharon turned professional after discovering her love for cycling. A stellar career saw her ride the 2008 Olympic Games representing Great Britain, secure British National titles on the road, time trial, and mountain bike, winning the Queen of the Mountains jersey at the Women's Tour, as well as a World Championship bronze medal in the team time trial. Alongside numerous successes on the road, she won mountain bike events such as the Cape Epic, a tough race in South Africa on several occasions. In recent times Sharon had begun to commentate on television where her knowledge and passion gave fans perspective on the National Championships, The Women’s Tour and La Course.
Sharon touched the hearts of many and was a dearly loved daughter, dedicated and hard-working teammate to many and a valued part of the cycling community. Best known for her infectious laugh, Sharon leaves behind a legacy of passion for cycling and enthusiasm for sport and will forever be remembered for her enthusiasm, positivity and genuine love of life.
Cycling friends say goodbye
The cycling community responded to Laws' death on Saturday with warm condolences and memories shared across social media.
We’re sad to hear the news of Sharon Laws passing. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/pVmBwyyXz2— British Cycling (@BritishCycling) December 16, 2017
How very sad. RIP Sharon Laws https://t.co/k1GYZ9gHw9— Paul Sherwen (@PaulSherwen) December 16, 2017
Such sad news that Sharon Laws passed away. A wonderful person; truly humble and always friendly. My thoughts are with her family & friends. https://t.co/uNXB701nNT— Marianne Vos (@marianne_vos) December 16, 2017
So sad to hear Sharon Laws passed away today. Such a wonderful person, an inspration on and off the bike and a great friend. She will be greatly missed.— Nicole Cooke (@NicoleCooke2012) December 16, 2017
The thoughts of everyone @SweetSpot_Group to the many friends & family of Sharon Laws, who sadly lost her fight with cancer this morning. RIP Sharon, one of our greatest champions, it was an honour to have you race in The Women's Tour. pic.twitter.com/218tQ6f98Z— The Women's Tour (@thewomenstour) December 16, 2017
Sharon Laws was a very special and inspirational woman. I can only bow my head in respect for how she raced and how she lived with her disease. https://t.co/NS6dm0IqIE— José Been (@TourDeJose) December 16, 2017
Some sad news you to bring you this afternoon.— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 16, 2017
Former Team GB cyclist Sharon Laws has died at the age of 43.
Our thoughts are with her family and friends.https://t.co/sLxAbOWdOjpic.twitter.com/wOAL3n1ZcT
Sad to hear of the passing of Olympic cyclist Sharon Laws after her battle with cancer.— Team GB (@TeamGB) December 16, 2017
Rest in peace, Sharon. pic.twitter.com/EEOtSjvciW
Our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Sharon Laws.— Lotto Soudal Ladies (@LS_Ladies) December 16, 2017
Forever in our hearts. https://t.co/eIjTdgch6j
Sharon Laws was one of those people whose enthusiasm for life was unstoppable. An unforgettable person, with an unforgettable laugh. Rest in peace Sharon https://t.co/oLcS2gitmn— Richard Abraham (@rabrahamlincoln) December 16, 2017
This morning cycling lost an inspiration. Sharon Laws was a champion. Her enthusiasm and energy left me and the Voxwomen team in awe constantly. Now at peace. RIP Sharon. https://t.co/leYKzjNrY4— Anthony McCrossan (@antmccrossan) December 16, 2017
You gave so much of yourself to cycling, and to life. You will be remembered and missed. Rest in peace, Sharon Laws. https://t.co/NVt6PgUVVp— Kirsten Frattini (@kirstenfrattini) December 16, 2017
Deeply saddened to hear the passing of Sharon Laws. She was such an inspirational person. She will be missed by many x RIP— Brian Smith (@BriSmithy) December 16, 2017
Sharon. I will miss you my friend. The biggest fighter I had ever met. You lived life to the… https://t.co/XvuBNhHpP8— Nikki Brammeier (@NikkiBrammeier) December 16, 2017
Today I raced for Sharon.— Nikki Brammeier (@NikkiBrammeier) December 16, 2017
- Having met Sharon during my first tour de Laude as a 19-year-old… https://t.co/5VfTmXrBmR
I always remember walking bleary eyed to breakfast most mornings at training camp and seeing Sharon already in the swimming pool at 7am, before doing a full day on the bike with the rest of the team. I'd never witnessed such dedication/madness/enthusiasm.— Daniel Lloyd (@daniellloyd1) December 16, 2017
Rest in peace Sharon.
We were lucky enough to have Sharon as part of our team in her final year as a professional cyclist, she won a National title just weeks after her diagnosis. A real star RIP Sharon, you will be missed
Such sad news. Took everything that came her way with such grace. RIP Sharon Laws. https://t.co/xKQIEb8scS— Rebecca Reza (@RebeccaReza) December 16, 2017
Very sorry to hear the extremely sad news of the loss of Sharon Laws. A truly lovely person, fabulous bike rider & an inspiration to many. Thoughts with her family, friends & all who knew her. https://t.co/NsyfxyGkip— Fiona Prew (@FionaSPrew) December 16, 2017
Difficult to understand why beautiful young lives get cut short. Sharon Laws, a champion cyclist & champion woman... easy to reflect why she was friends with the whole peloton! My thoughts are with her family & dearest friends x— rachel neylan (@rachneylan) December 17, 2017
Sad news to read @SharonNLaws has lost her fight with cancer! Raced many races against Sharon. Always lovely and happy to chat. Great cycling career too. May you Rest In Peace. https://t.co/EKcLmvczkc— Tiffany Jane (@tiffanycromwell) December 17, 2017
The world lost an extraordinary human being today in Sharon Laws. We will miss the positive light that she brought to our community. Our thoughts + prayers to all that had the privilege of knowing her. Rest in peace. https://t.co/B5mES4XnH5— Rally Cycling (@Rally_Cycling) December 17, 2017
So sad to wake up to this news. I still remember the first time meeting Sharon at an AIS camp: a newcomer to the sport but a clear determination and talent from the start as she danced on the pedals up Black Mtn. Always with a smile, a beautiful person gone too soon. RIP Sharon. https://t.co/Hs5UZlDvP9— AmandaSpratt (@AmandaSpratt) December 17, 2017
Sharon. My thoughts are with you and your family on my way to Auckland today. https://t.co/PZSbn4Cvzm— Annemiek van Vleuten (@AvVleuten) December 16, 2017