Ian Luebbers’s family has shared heartbreaking statements on social media
Tributes for the late Ian Luebbers continue to pour in from around the world in the wake of the untimely death of the 24-year-old Irish dancing World Champion.
Luebbers, a native of Downington, Pennsylvania, passed away unexpectedly on June 11, 2019. Authorities have "no reason to believe that Ian’s death was anything other than an accident," according to a statement shared online by his family.
An obituary for Ian Luebbers reads: “Ian had a brilliant mind, was a superb athlete, passionate dancer, avid reader, and incredibly gifted writer. He was boundlessly creative, relentlessly curious and had his own unique and wonderful wit."
"Ian had many accomplishments but it was never about that for him, and he cared most about the journey, the impact and the connections that he made along the way. As a result, he was an inspiration to many. He always remained humble and his quick wit and easy smile will be sorely missed and always remembered.”
The obituary added that the Luebbers family plans to announce a charity where friends and family can direct donations in Ian’s memory if they so wish.
On June 13, Cassidy Luebbers, older sister to Ian, shared a public post about the untimely death of her beloved brother:
On Tuesday, June 11, 2019, we lost our beloved son and brother and the world lost an amazing young man. Ian had a...Publiée par Cassidy Luebbers sur Jeudi 13 juin 2019
On Instagram, Ian’s younger brother Owen shared a post in memory of his older brother:
View this post on Instagram
On Tuesday, June 11, 2019, we lost our beloved son and brother and the world lost an amazing young man. Ian had a brilliant mind. He was a superb athlete, passionate dancer, an avid reader and an incredibly gifted writer. He was boundlessly creative, relentlessly curious and had his own unique and wonderful wit. Our family is close beyond words and no matter where each of is at any moment, we are one heart. Our heart is broken. Underneath the public facade, Ian fought a hidden battle with mental illness, an illness that can not be seen, but was felt so deeply in his soul. Irish dancing was one of Ian’s safe havens that allowed him to escape the internal conflicts that haunted him. He was the healthiest and at his best when he was dancing. Dancing was his passion and joy. He was an inspiration to all of us. He liked to take long walks day and night, regardless of weather. We know that he was out walking late at night in the rain on a little used trail. The authorities have no reason to believe that Ian’s death was anything other than an accident. Going through his phone, they found he was talking with a friend shortly before and had made plans with her. His last two texts were to high school friends, making plans to get together next week. He left no note. He had a drawstring bag with items like an extra jacket. We will never truly know what happened that night. We are overwhelmed by the love and support of our community here and around the world. Please continue to share your stories with us for years to come to keep Ian’s memory alive. Please tag us in any and all posts. We feel your thoughts and prayers surrounding us and supporting us during this difficult time and we couldn’t do this without you. Sending our love to all of you. In the words of Ian’s Dad, “I would like everyone to remember the mild-mannered Ian with the ready smile and the quick wit, who danced “like no one was watching” for the pure joy of dancing. I would also like everyone to remember that none of us can see the internal struggles that people face on a daily basis. In dealing with his illness, Ian developed the philosophy of what he called “loving kindness,” (cont. in comment)
Ian and his two siblings have all enjoyed great success in competitive Irish dancing within the CLRG organization.
Niall Holly, who helped coach Luebbers to his Senior Men’s World Championship title in 2018 through his Holly and Kavanagh Dance Academy in Dublin, shared a statement along with a video from the night Luebbers celebrated his title:
Nobody knows when it’s the last goodbye so be kind to each other.. I loved Ian so much. I loved his wit. I loved his intelligence. And I loved his talent. He was the dream every teacher wants to walk into their studio. There was no greater joy than seeing his expression light up when he got new choreography. He was honestly at his happiest when he was dancing - probably because it was the one time he didn’t have to think - he just danced! Ian didn’t smile much - you were sometimes afforded a smirk of approval but when he did smile, his face lit up - and it ignited you too. The happiest time for Ian was the day he lifted his World Globe - he didn’t stop smiling. Ian’s energy was intense, you felt it. He was like a candle that burned twice as bright... but unfortunately those candles that burn twice as bright only burn for half as long. My heart aches for you Ian -I will think of you every single day of my dancing life.Publiée par Niall Holly sur Jeudi 13 juin 2019
Irish Dancing Magazine shared a tribute to Luebbers, who was named by the Magazine as “Most Likely to Succeed” in their 2015 ‘Irish Dancing Man of the Year’ feature.
A statement posted online from An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha [CLRG], the Irish dance organization in which Luebbers competed, remembers Luebbers as "a champion Irish Dancer, a brother, and a friend to many in our global dance community:"
R.I.P. Ian Luebbers January 2, 1995 – June 11, 2019 It is with great sadness that we announce the tragic passing of Ian...Publiée par CLRG Irish Dancing Commission sur Vendredi 14 juin 2019
A statement from the Mid-Atlantic Region Oireachtas, the regional qualifier for Irish dancers in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania which Ian won several times throughout his career, said: “Ian was an integral member of our MAR family and was an inspirational role model for all our dancers not only by his hard work and talent, but also for his warmth and encouragement.”
On behalf of the Mid Atlantic Region Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America, we would like to extend our...Publiée par Mid-Atlantic Oireachtas sur Vendredi 14 juin 2019
Friends of the Luebbers family created a GoFundMe to help with funeral expenses for the family on June 13; in less than a day, more than $17,000 was raised, more than triple the initial goal of $5,000.
Below, a video fo Ian Luebbers performing his World Championship-winning set piece in 2018: