BMX Gold Medalist Kevin Robinson, 45, Dies Suddenly Saturday - EP in Shock
World Famous "K-Rob" Touched Lives of Thousands
Shock and disbelief rolled through all of East Providence and much of the nation as word emerged that Kevin Robinson or, K-Rob, as he was known to thousands, passed away unexpectedly today, Saturday, December 9, 2017. A family spokesperson, Tracy Adams Capobianco released a statement which read: "It is with heavy hearts and great sadness that I have to share this, we have lost a very special member of our family, my Brother-In Law Kevin passed away suddenly from a stroke earlier today. Please respect my sister Robin and her privacy during this tremendously difficult time."
As the news spread throughout Rhode Island, classmates, friends and fans of K-Rob were expressing deep sadness and condolences to the families. Kevin Robinson grew up in East Providence and was a 1989 EPHS graduate. In 2011 Robinson was inducted into the East Providence High School Hall of Fame.
K-Rob has endured over 50 surgeries throughout his illustrious career and retired from BMX performances in 2013. “I’m always glad to bring things back to my home state of Rhode Island. A lot of these exhibits began here with the X games and it’s in my blood,” the Townie native told The Reporter in an earlier interview.
Robinson often said that his love for East Providence has also inspired much of his success in life too. "East Providence is part of my DNA. It is part of my personality, part of my core. It is what I am about. It’s like a family member. I know that I can always come home to this place. It is the place that built me. Sometimes you go through life and face different adversities, and sometimes the best choice that you can make is to go back to simplicity. Go back home, and get re-grounded. Go back to the place that built you,” he said. Robinson and his family had established the K-Rob Foundation.
The K-Rob foundation donated $30,000 to the effort to re-build Onna Moniz Playground at Central Park in East Providence. The project involved a combined effort of the East Providence City Council, city planners and staff and others in the community including EP graduate John Carnevale.
Robinson said that he formed his K-Rob foundation initially to help guide local youth, especially if they couldn’t afford to participate in sports. “If the family can’t afford it, we can help with paying the fees,” said the East Providence High School Hall of Famer.
Kevin Robinson also helped to organize an effort to save Middle School sports. “Our message is to keep our kids active in sports. We pay for kids who can’t afford fees, etc. This is the time when kids are most susceptible and we can’t let this happen,” the world gold medalist said at the time. “I went to Martin and EPHS and to this day I still say ‘coach’ when I see my former coaches and teachers. I have been to over 30 countries and there is nobody like the people in this city. I love our people and spirit,” Robinson said.
K-Rob became an internationally known athlete/pioneer in BMX bike competition. He was consistently on the podium as one of the most progressive and creative Vert and MegaRamp riders in BMX history. Kevin defines perseverance. After eleven X Games appearances and three bronze medals, Kevin had his dream season in 2006 when he took home two gold medals from X Games 12. In the BMX Vert Best Trick competition Kevin made history when he became the first to land the fabled double flair (two back flips with a 180 degree twist). Two days later at X Games he took his second gold medal in the inaugural BMX Big Air event.
In 2007 Kevin added to his X Games medal collection a Bronze in BMX Vert and a Gold in BMX Big Air. He also took the honor of "Athlete of the Games”. On June 12, 2008 in Central Park, NYC, Kevin set a new BMX high air world record soaring 55’ above ground. The following Monday he appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman to discuss the feat.
In May of 2010 Kevin announced the K-Rob Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in his hometown of East Providence, Rhode Island and surrounding communities. "The purpose of the Foundation is to positively transform the lives of these children by getting them involved, and keeping them involved in athletics as a means to learn discipline, focus, teamwork and healthy living habits. The Foundation also focuses on strengthening the Rhode Island community by providing affordable, quality events that promote healthy living and positive relationships throughout the community."
The K-Rob Foundation has given back over $70,000 in both cash and in-kind donations. In June of 2016, the K-Rob Foundation completed the City of East Providence's very first free public skatepark. A lifelong dream, the Foundation reached its goal of providing the city with a safe place to ride BMX, skate, and scooter.
In 2011, Kevin missed X Games 17 due to a shoulder injury, but that did not slow him down one bit. He became a commentator and analyst for EPSN alongside Tony Hawk, Jeremy McGrath and Dennis McCoy. He also started a Target program at Camp Woodward in Pennsylvania, where he hosts several vert ramp contests throughout the summer. At the end of the season, he invites the winners back for the final Target Cup Challenge. During this year, Kevin also started K-Rob BMX School Assembly Programs, giving motivational speeches to schools and businesses all over the US. He found yet another true passion of his, helping others succeed in life by sharing his own life stories of success and failure.
K-Rob has addressed schools, business and military groups all over the country by delivering his inspiring messages. In addition to speaking at Elementary, Middle & High Schools, Kevin has been a keynote speaker at workshops and business events nationally including Cox Communications Year End Celebration, Target Yearly Corporate Meeting, American Express Business Seminar, Disney Cruise Lines, Red Bull Yearly Corporate Meeting, and even finding himself on the stage presenting at a TED talk conference.
From 2012-2015, Robinson has continued to evolve from a competitive BMX career to a businessman. He has continued to push himself on different stages from bikes to conferences to the business arena. He has continued to host events and be the on-air commentator for X Games.
Most recently, Kevin has smashed the Guinness World Record for longest power assisted bicycle backflip by jumping an incredible 84 feet from ramp to ramp. The event aired live on ESPN and the feat ended up in the top 5 on national television.
Robinson leaves his wife, Robin and three young children. The EPHS Hall of Fame Committee issued a statement. "We are so saddened to hear of this shocking passing of Kevin today. He was a proud inductee to our Hall of Fame and seen as a role-model for thousands of young people. His legacy will live on in East Providence and throughout the world."
"So sad. No one can believe it," is a social media comment that seems to speak for everyone today.