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Ex-400m champion Pettigrew found dead

Antonio Pettigrew (far left) with the rest of the American 4x400m squad that were stripped of their Olympic golds.
Antonio Pettigrew (far left) with the rest of the American 4x400m squad that were stripped of their Olympic golds.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Former 400 meters world champion Antonio Pettigrew has been found dead in his car
  • The 42-year-old Pettigrew won gold in the 1991 world championships in Tokyo
  • He was also a member of the United States relay squad that won gold at the 2000 Olympics
  • However, he later admitted doping and the whole squad were stripped of their medals

(CNN) -- American Antonio Pettigrew -- the former 400 meter world champion who later admitted doping -- has been found dead in the United States at the age of 42.

Pettigrew won gold at the 1991 world championships in Tokyo and was a member of the American 4x400m squad that won relay gold in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

However, in 2008 Pettigrew admitted being part of a systematic doping program organized by former coach Trevor Graham, between 1997 and 2003, and the whole relay squad were stripped of their medals.

Pettigrew was found dead near the University of North Carolina campus where he had worked as an athletics coach for four years.

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"Although we are still learning the circumstances, we are deeply saddened to hear of Antonio's death," the school's athletic director, Dick Baddour, told Reuters.com

"I don't know any details other than that he was found in his car early this morning, not far from campus.

"I was particularly impressed with the relationships he established with his student-athletes and the pride he took in representing the university. Our deepest condolences go out to Antonio's family particularly his wife and son."