Helmut Jahn, Famed Chicago Architect, Dies in Bicycle Crash Aged 81—Tributes Paid

Helmut Jahn, the famed German-born American architect, has died after his bicycle was hit by two vehicles in Illinois.

Jahn, 81, was struck on Saturday afternoon while riding on a street on Campton Hills, a suburb around 55 miles west of Chicago.

According to Campton Hills Police Chief Steven Miller, Jahn apparently rode through a stop sign at an intersection and was hit by the two vehicles traveling in the opposite direction. Jahn was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of one of the vehicles was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries, reported ABC 7.

Jahn, a world-renowned architect, is best known in Chicago for designing the James R. Thompson Center government building in 1985. Praised for its unique design, it helped propel Jahn on the world stage. However, the future of the building is now in doubt after the state of Illinois put it up for sale earlier in May, citing financial reasons.

Jahn also worked on several other major projects in Chicago, including the Xerox Center, now known as 55 West Monroe, McCormick Place, Chicago Board of Trade Building and the colorful United Airlines terminal at O'Hare International Airport.

Elsewhere, Jahn also helped design the J. Edgar Hoover Building, the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C, the One Liberty Place skyscraper in Philadelphia and the Park Avenue Tower in New York City.

Jahn's work can also be seen in other countries, such as the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, and the Sony Center in Berlin, Germany.

Following news of his death, tributes are being paid to Jahn, whose work has helped shape the look of the city of Chicago.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted: "Jahn was one of the most inventive Chicago architects whose impact on the city—from the skyline to the O'Hare tunnel—will never be forgotten. His architectural footprint will be felt & seen across the globe for generations to come. I extend heartfelt prayers to his family."

The Illinois chapter of the American Institute of Architects added: "Our AIA community was hit hard over the weekend with the tragic death of one of our longtime, famed members, Helmet Jahn.

"We are deeply saddened at the loss of one of Chicago's true talents and thinking of his family and friends during this difficult time."

Blair Kamin, the former architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune, described Jahn as a "dashing star of an architect" to the paper.

"He was on the cover of GQ. He was renowned as much for his persona as for his architecture, but his architecture was always exceptional," Kamin said. "And, as time went on, he was regarded as less of a 'Flash Gordon' character and more of a modernist master."

The City of Chicago has been contacted for further comment.

Helmut Jahn
Helmut Jahn attends a reception held by German President Joachim Gauck at Schloss Bellevue palace on July 3, 2015 in Berlin. The architect has died at the age of 81 after being struck by two vehicles as he was riding his bicycle in Illinois. Sean Gallup/Getty Images