Olympic medal-winning boxer Darren Sutherland was found dead at home today by his manager.
Sutherland, 27, who won bronze for Ireland at the 2008 games, was found hanged in his flat in Bromley, south London, by Frank Maloney.
In a statement the boxing promoter said: “It is very sad and unexpected.
“At this sad time my thoughts are with Darren’s family and I hope their privacy at this very difficult time will be respected by the media.
“It is a tragedy for Ireland and the world of boxing.”
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said Sutherland was pronounced dead at just after 3pm. His death is not being treated as suspicious.
His family have been informed.
The fighter made his professional debut in Dublin last December, winning by a knockout.
Minster for Arts, Sport and Tourism Martin Cullen offered condolences to Sutherland's family.
“The death of Darren is a great personal loss to them and to his many friends,” the minister said.
“The tremendous effort and determination of this young man brought immense pride to Ireland in Beijing in 2008 when he joined a very select group of men who have won an Olympic medal for Ireland.
“It takes work, effort, desire and dedication to be a champion – qualities Darren had in abundance.”
Mr Cullen said Sutherland had grabbed the challenge of turning pro with great enthusiasm.
“Ireland has lost a sportsman of wonderful ability, a clever and popular man with a future of real potential.
“His early death deprives us of a magnificent talent.”
Sutherland turned pro and joined the Maloney camp after silver medal success in the Beijing Olympics last year.
He was one of the leading lights on the Irish boxing scene in the four years before the games and regarded as one of the best talents coached under the Irish Sports Council’s high performance unit.
Sutherland had trained as a boxer in his teens joining the famous Brendan Ingle gym in Sheffield before giving up the sport.
He returned while studying sports science at Dublin City University in 2004.
He announced his plans to turn pro last October at the college where he also won his professional debut.
Boxing insiders described him as an intelligent, articulate and ambitious man with a love of music and films.
His stated goal was to win a world super-middleweight title.
“I want to go all the way,” he said on the day he turned pro.
“There’s no point starting out if you don’t believe you can win a world title. That’s where I want to go.”
Sporting chiefs, including those who worked closely with him in the high performance unit, were said to be deeply shocked by his death.
Under Maloney’s guidance and based in London Sutherland was being fast-tracked to the top ranks of the pro-circuit.
Sutherland was also the focus of an Irish documentary film, Saviours, based around the amateur boxing club in north inner city Dublin, St Saviour’s.