Bicyclist Dies During Fundraiser

A political strategist who served as U.S. Sen. John McCain’s Connecticut state campaign manager during the 2000 Republican presidential primary died during a charity bicycle ride.

Ben Davol, 58, died of cardiac arrest during the Closer to Free Ride fundraising event Sunday in New Haven, Conn. The ride is an annual event to raise funds for the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNNH). Approximately 2,000 riders participated this year on one of five routes of varying distances. Davol had participated in the ride for several years, according to the New Haven Register.

The organization released a statement: “While yesterday was a day of celebration and triumph, we suffered a tragic loss during the Ride. Alumni rider and Closer to Free family member Ben Davol passed away during the ride as a result of cardiac arrest. Our heartfelt condolences are with the Davol family and Team Tommy Fund. We will fondly remember Ben as a passionate cyclist and dedicated to many causes, including the Closer to Free Ride. Please keep Ben and his family in your thoughts during this difficult time.”

The Closer to Free bike ride is a fundraiser for Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center. YNHH said there were more than 1,900 participants in this year’s event.

This was the event’s eighth year. Riders commit to raising $500 and the average rider raises $1,100 for their ride, according to the organization.