MODESTO, Calif., Oct. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. Olympic fencer Kamara James is dead at 29, according to the U.S. Fencing Association.
The exact date and cause of death was not specified, but the Olympic team reported the loss mid-October.
James moved from Jamaica to Queens, N.Y., at the age of 10. Considered a long shot for the U.S. Olympic team, she became one of the youngest fencers at the 2004 games in Athens at 19 years old.
Her excellent grades and near-perfect SAT score earned her a full academic scholarship to Princeton University where she earned a degree in religious studies before continuing her studies at Harvard where she pursued her master's in comparative religion.
In addition to earning a world-class Ivy League education, Jones raised $50,000 in donations so she could compete in the 2004 Olympics.
"What always amazed me about Kamara was how diligent she was. I knew her from the day she started fencing and instantly everyone knew she was a precocious talent," said 2008 Olympic silver medalist Keeth Smart, who competed with James in Athens.
Though the cause of death was not mentioned, fencing.net said mental illness was Jones' "most unrelenting adversary."
No formal memorial services have been announced.