Freestyle Ski Champ Sarah Burke Dies
Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke died Thursday after she crashed on a training run last week, People reports. She was 29.
Burke had been in a coma since her Jan. 11 accident on the superpipe in Park City, Utah -- the same superpipe on which former pro snowboarder Kevin Pearce suffered a serious traumatic brain injury that ended his competitive career. Burke underwent successful surgery the following day to repair a torn vertebral artery that had caused bleeding between her brain and skull, but she remained comatose.
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According to hospital officials, Burke went into cardiac arrest after she suffered a ruptured artery. She sustained irreversible brain damage because of a lack of oxygen and blood following cardiac arrest. Burke passed away "peacefully surrounded by those she loved," her family said in a statement, obtained by People. "The family expresses their heartfelt gratitude for the international outpouring of support they have received from all the people Sarah touched."
Burke was considered a pioneer in her sport, and won gold medals in the Winter X-Games and World Freestyle Skiing Championships.