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Motorcylist's death a "numbing shock" for grieving family

Family are mourning the loss of a young Red Deer man after a tragic crash cut his life short at the start of the May long weekend.

Andre van der Berg was killed in a motorcycle crash east of Red Deer on May 16.

Born in South Africa, the 23-year-old emigrated with his family to Canada about 16 years ago. First landing in Newfoundland, they came to Red Deer 10 years ago. Andre became a Canadian citizen two years ago.

His father, a doctor of internal medicine at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, Dirk van der Berg spoke fondly of his son.

“He was a wonderful son,” said Dirk. “He was born in South Africa but he got his meaning here in Canada.”

Andre worked for Topco Oilsite products as a technician but his passion was the outdoors.

Involved in every sport imaginable, snowboarding was his favourite.

“He loved the outdoors, if you look at him smiling he’s always outdoors,” said Dirk.

“He was a very jovial guy but very simple on the other hand. He wasn’t extravagant.”

Dirk said his son was well-liked by his wide circle of friends.

The news of Andre’s death was a “numbing shock” for the family.

“There are no words to describe it,” said Dirk. “It is terrible.

“But we believe God in his wisdom knows the best. He obviously has his ways of doing things and we take comfort in that.”

Dirk described his son’s character as very sharing and he said that he was extremely fond of animals.

“He would do anything to help anybody else that he could,” said Dirk.

“He was so willing to help, he would put himself at risk to help others.”

Andre was killed just before 10 p.m. on the Friday of the May long weekend. Blackfalds RCMP said he was southbound on Range Road 270 between Hwys 11 and 595 when he lost control, went off the road and was ejected from his motorcycle.

Police said he suffered major internal injuries and head trauma. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A memorial service will be held at First Christian Reformed Church, 16 McVicar St. on Monday.

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