The sports world reacted with a mix of shocked horror and caution Thursday to news that popular South African Oscar Pistorius had been charged with gunning down his model girlfriend.
Details of the killing were initially murky with Pistorius charged for murder after the death was first cast as accidental in media reports.
"My word, if these reports on @SkyNewsBreak are true, this story regarding Oscar Pistorius accidentally killing his girlfriend is horrific," tweeted English footballer Michael Owen who was among those who reacted with disbelief.
The tragedy exploded across social networking site Twitter and dominated headlines worldwide.
"Woken up to the horrendous news about Oscar Pistorius mistakenly shooting his girlfriend. What an awful tragedy," reacted British athlete Jessica Ennis who took heptathlon gold at the 2012 Olympics where Pistorius also competed.
Sporting bodies chose to issue tight-lipped statements on their websites.
"The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) will not be passing any comment on the case at this time," said the governing body.
"This is a police matter, with a formal investigation currently underway. Therefore it would be inappropriate for the IPC to comment on this incident until the official police process has concluded."
"The IPC would like to offer its deepest sympathy and condolences to all families involved in this case."
The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), the country's main sporting body, also acknowledged the shooting but would not comment further.
"SASCOC, like the rest of the public, knows no more than what is in the public domain," it said in a statement, saying it had been inundated with enquiries.
"It would be irresponsible and inappropriate to comment on the alleged incident until the official investigative process has been completed."