LONDON -- The head of the Paralympics is in a state of "disbelief" about the murder charge against Oscar Pistorius, but is trying to reassure his organization that is has a strong future without its star athlete.

Pistorius last year became the first double amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympics, and helped to generate unprecedented interest in the subsequent Paralympics in London.

As Pistorius was appearing in court Tuesday in South Africa, International Paralympic Committee President Philip Craven expressed his "shock and disbelief" at the runner's sudden downfall.

Craven told The Associated Press he is writing to IPC members urging them to "respect and observe" the legal processes while refocusing on "the way forward."

Craven insists "we've got so many stars coming through that this will not be an issue."