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CORDELE, Ga. -- Former University of Georgia 400-meter standout Torrin Lawrence died Monday morning in a car accident as he made his way home to Jacksonville, Florida. He was 25.
Crisp County Sheriff Billy Hancock said Lawrence was traveling along Interstate 75 about 1:40 a.m. when a tire blew out. Lawrence got out of the car to make a phone call when a tractor-trailer came over the crest and struck the car, knocking the vehicle into Lawrence.
Hancock said Lawrence was on his way to Jacksonville after training in Athens, where he won an NCAA indoor title for the Bulldogs in 2010. The accident happened about 90 miles from the Georgia-Florida state line.
Lawrence graduated from Georgia with a degree in sociology in May 2013 after a record-setting college career.
"In speaking for the UGA track and field community, I am shocked and pained with news of Torrin's death," Bulldogs head track coach Wayne Norton said on the school's website. "First, my prayers for comfort are for Torrin's mother and family. Second, this makes me reflect on Torrin and remember him as one of the greatest talents I have ever seen."
Lawrence ran for the United States in the opening round of the 4x400 relay at the IAAF World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas, two months ago. The team went on to capture the gold medal.
Earlier this month, Lawrence turned in a personal-best outdoor time of 45.32 seconds at a meet in Belgium.
Several Olympic track athletes, including sprinter Allyson Felix and sprinter Wallace Spearmon, took to Twitter to express their condolences:
Sad to hear about the passing of Torrin Lawrence. My prayers go out to his family & friends. We lost a talented member of our track family.- Allyson Felix (@allysonfelix) July 28, 2014
R.I.P Torrin Lawrence prayers up for him and his family. Definitely tragic, cherish life. @TrackNationUSA family- wallace spearmon jr (@PrinceSpearmon) July 28, 2014
"We were devastated to learn of Torrin's passing early this morning," USA Track and Field CEO Max Siegel said. "Torrin represented USATF with pride and passion, and had an incredible future ahead of him. We join those who will miss him deeply."
Our thoughts & prayers go out to Torrin's family, friends & all those who loved him. http://t.co/a9NNSUc1Jo pic.twitter.com/gJIgRVOFfI- USATF (@usatf) July 28, 2014
The Associated Press contributed to this report.