Former Olympic Runner Antonio Pettigrew Found Dead
The discovery was made early Tuesday in Chatham County, located a few miles west of Chapel Hill. No other details were immediately disclosed by authorities. Pettigrew was 42.
"Although we are still learning the circumstances, we are deeply saddened to learn of Antonio's death," UNC athletic director Dick Baddour said in a statement. "I was particularly impressed with the relationships he established with his student-athletes and the pride he took in representing the University of North Carolina. Our deepest condolences go out to Antonio's family, particularly his wife and son."
Pettigrew was part of the U.S. team that won the 1,600-meter relay in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, a gold medal that would be stripped from each member of the team after Pettigrew admitted he doped.
During the 2008 trial of track coach Trevor Graham, Pettigrew admitted he used both human growth hormone and endurance-boosting EPO regularly from 1997 through 2001.
Graham was convicted of perjury and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency levied a lifetime ban. Pettigrew also received a two-year ban in 2008, but he had already retired.
Earlier in his career, Pettigrew won a gold medal in the 400 at the World Championships in 1991.
Pettigrew was entering his fourth season as an assistant with the Tar Heels. According to his UNC bio, Pettigrew was mainly responsible for sprinters, hurdlers and relay teams.
He is survived by his wife, Cassandra, and son, Antonio Pettigrew Jr.