Family pay tribute to ‘gentle giant’ cyclist who died in Kirkstall Road crash

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The cyclist who died in a crash in Leeds earlier this week has been named as 33-year-old John Harkins.

Police were called to Kirkstall Road at 11.25pm on Monday after a silver Volkswagen Golf was involved in a collision with a man on a bicycle.

In a statement, his family said: “The devastating loss of John has left a void in all our lives. He was a gentle giant loving and caring of all he met. He excelled in everything he set his mind to, from education, to sport, to being the most fabulous son, brother and uncle a family could wish for.

“The outpouring of love and respect for him from his family, school friends, his cheerleading family and work colleagues from across the globe, has provided a ray of light and showed the true scale of his kind and caring nature.  

“He has touched the lives of so many people and his families both home and away are devastated by the news.”

Mr Harkins, who was known as Tats on account of his tattoos, was a founder and coach at Leeds cheerleading programme Aviator Cheer, based in Lockwood Court.

Video: Hundreds attend emotional candlelit vigil for John Harkins

His friend and colleague Martin Wan told the YEP Mr Harkins brought home a bronze medal competing for England in the ICU championships in Orlando.

He said: “Tats was such a big personality and such a big leader in competitive cheerleading.

“He was a pillar of the community, a great guy and one of the best coaches in the UK. He was friends with everyone, everyone felt like he was close family.

“It was his biggest love, he was absolutely committed to it. To see him coach was something else.”

Two men, aged 23 and 36 from Leeds who were inside the car, were arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and bailed.

The driver of the car remains in hospital in a serious but stable condition

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