Olympic bronze medallist figure skater Denis Ten, 25, stabbed to death in Kazakhstan by thieves trying to steal his car mirrors

OLYMPIC bronze medal winner Denis Ten has been stabbed to death after trying to stop thieves stealing his car mirrors.

The 25-year-old was stabbed in the thigh in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and was rushed to hospital.

 Olympic bronze medallist Denis Ten has been stabbed to death in Kazakhstan

Olympic bronze medallist Denis Ten has been stabbed to death in Kazakhstan

But he died three hours later.

The case is being treated as murder with police on the hunt for those responsible.

Born in Kazakhstan to a family of Korean descent, Ten won bronze at the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014, becoming Kazakhstan's first medalist in figure skating.

He also won the Four Continents championships the following year, and was a world championship silver medalist in 2013

 Denis Ten was an esteemed figure skater, but had suffered with injury the past few years

AP:Associated Press
Denis Ten was an esteemed figure skater, but had suffered with injury the past few years
 The world of sport has been left stunned after figure skater Denis Ten was killed by thieves trying to steal his car mirrors

Reuters
The world of sport has been left stunned after figure skater Denis Ten was killed by thieves trying to steal his car mirrors

Ten struggled with injuries in recent years and could manage only 27th at the Olympics in Pyeongchang in February.

The BBC reports a government spokesperson as saying: "Unfortunately, he is not with us anymore."

And Kazakhstan's minister of culture and sport, Arystanbek Mukhamediuly said: "Denis Ten was an incredible figure skater, the legend of our sport, our pride.

"This is an unthinkable tragedy and irreparable loss."

IOC President Thomas Bach added: “Denis Ten was a great athlete and a great ambassador for his sport.

"A warm personality and a charming man. [It is] such a tragedy to lose him at such a young age.”

Canadian skater Patrick Chan, who won silver in the same competition, said on Twitter he was "honored and grateful to have shared the ice" with Ten.

"One of the most beautiful skaters to have graced our sport. My thoughts are with his family during this unimaginable time."

The International Skating Union said it was "deeply saddened" by news of Ten's death.

"Today is truly a dark day for all of us who knew and loved this young figure skater and were inspired by his talent and creativity," Kazakhstan Olympic Committee president Timur Kulibayev said in a statement.

"Throughout his sporting career, Denis set an example with his motivation, strength of spirit and his champion's personality."

Figure skaters around the world mourned his death.

Spain's Javier Fernandez, who won bronze in Pyeongchang but finished fourth in Sochi, published a picture of himself and Ten on Twitter and wrote "rest in peace."

"Unbelievable. He was so young and full of life," former Canadian pairs skater Meagan Duhamel tweeted.

Ten hadn't formally retired from skating but in recent months he'd often spoken of his studies in economics and his plans to write a movie script.

He is believed to have lived in California with his mother, having moved out there from Moscow in 2010.

OLYMPIC bronze medal winner Denis Ten has been stabbed to death after trying to stop thieves stealing his car mirrors.