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The Early Lead
Posted at 11:49 AM ET, 01/20/2012

Sarah Burke: Athletes react to freestyle skier’s death

Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke died Thursday, leaving the winter and extreme sports community devastated.

The 29-year-old fell during a superpipe training run in Park City, Utah, last week and suffered “irreversible damage to her brain due to lack of oxygen and blood after cardiac arrest,” according to a statement from her publicist.

An Olympic gold-medal hopeful and four-time Winter X-Games champion, Burke’s vibrant spirit for ad­ven­ture and her passion to push the boundaries of her sport skyward resonated well beyond the ski community.

In the wake of her sudden passing, athletes took to Twitter to express their shock, sadness and sympathy for Burke’s family.

Burke spent nine days on life support at the University of Utah Hospital, incurring hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of medical expenses. Her family has set up a Web site requesting donations to help cover reported costs of around $550,000 at

The Canadian Freestyle Ski Association insures all of its athletes, but the policy does not cover non-sanctioned events, according to a National Post report. Burke’s training session was sponsored by Monster Energy, not the CFSA. The site had already generated nearly $90,000 in donations by late Friday morning.

More from Washington Post Sports:

Early Lead: Burke died ‘peacefully surrounded by those she loved’

Sarah Burke dies from injuries sustained in superpipe accident

Family, doctors of Burke cancel medical update

Burke has surgery for head injury, no prognosis for recovery

Early Lead: Sarah Burke remains in medically induced coma after freestyle accident

Halfpipe skiers acknowledge dangers of sport but still hit superpipe

By  |  11:49 AM ET, 01/20/2012

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