Dan Hanegby, a 36-year-old father of two, was killed Monday while riding a bike in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. He lived with his children and wife Sasha—they met when they were 10 years old—in Brooklyn Heights, a beautiful neighborhood just over the bridge, but grew up in Herzliya, Israel. By the age of 16 he was the country’s top-ranked tennis player, and served in the IDF shortly thereafter, eventually rising to the rank of Staff Sergent.
He was the first member of his family to move to the United States, arriving in 2003 to attend college. He began his college career at the age of 23 at Binghamton University in upstate New York and eventually transferred to Brown in Providence, Rhode Island, where he was the 66th-ranked men’s singles tennis player in the country.
Before attending college, however, Hanegby quit playing tennis to serve in the IDF—a mandatory service but one that can be easier for Israeli athletes. So he quit tennis and signed up for the Special Forces, according to a 2006 profile inThe Brown Daily Herald. “Israel was starting to heat up at that time second Intifada,” he said, referring, apparently, to the second Intifada. “There were a lot of suicide bombings. Every week we had something. There isn’t a person in Israel who doesn’t know someone who died in a bombing. So I wanted to do something for my country.”
“I hate to lose in tennis, but there are other things in life that are worse. No tennis win can compare to that feeling of knowing you helped to stop the next suicide bomber. I would definitely do it again.”
Hanegby, reportedly an avid cyclist, was riding a Citi Bike, New York’s bike sharing service, when he was struck by a bus. His death is the first in the bike program’s 43-million ride history.
According to one report, he will be buried in Israel.