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.
So saddened by the news about Sarah Burke. RIP my thoughts and prayers go out to all family and friends and the skiing community.— Julia Mancuso (@JuliaMancuso) January 19, 2012
"You can shed tears that she is gone,or you can smile because she has lived. You can close your@ Lake Wanaka instagr.am/p/ixFf4/— Gretchen Bleiler (@GretchenBleiler) January 20, 2012
we are thinking of you Sarah Burke... your impact will be felt for a long time.#RIP— Abby Wambach (@AbbyWambach) January 20, 2012
My thoughts and prayers go out to Sarah Burke and her family. She changed her sport and left a legacy. Amazing person too. #RIP— Heather Mitts (@heathermitts) January 19, 2012
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 giveforward.com/sarahburke.
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.
Saddened by the loss of such an amazing athlete. Please help Sarah's family in this tough time. giveforward.com/sarahburke— lindsey vonn (@lindseyvonn) January 20, 2012
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