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Category: obituaries

Jill Kinmont Boothe dies; ski champ was left paralyzed at 18

JillJill Kinmont Boothe, the former ski champion and Olympic hopeful who was left paralyzed after a skiing accident in Utah in 1955 and whose inspirational life story was the subject of two Hollywood films, died Thursday in a Carson City hospital. She was 75.

Ruth Rhines, senior deputy coroner of Carson City, confirmed that Boothe died Thursday at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center. A cause of death has not been reported and Rhines could not confirm reports that Boothe died of complications related to surgery.

A Los Angeles native, Kinmont Boothe was the U.S. women’s slalom champion in January 1955 when she crashed during a race at Alta, Utah, and suffered a broken neck and severe spinal cord damage.

The accident, which left her a quadriplegic at age 18, occurred three days before an issue of Sports Illustrated featuring her on the cover hit newsstands.

Boothe went on to overcome the life-changing tragedy by earning a teaching credential at the University of Washington and having a successful career as a teacher.

Her story was told in the 1975 film “The Other Side of the Mountain” and the 1978 sequel “The Other Side of the Mountain Part 2.”

An elementary school in Bishop, where she lived with her husband John, bears her name.

A complete obituary will follow in the obituaries section of latimes.com. 

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-- Dennis McLellan

Photo: Jill Kinmont, who was paralyzed in a ski accident a year before the 1956 Winter Games, passes through a gate at Mammath Mt. when she was 18 years old. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times.

Lessons I learned from Clarence Clemons

I realize this entry has little to do with sports, and if you aren't fan of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, then you might want to just skip this post entirely, but I hope you don't.

Clarence Clemons, the saxophone player and iconic presence in the E Street Band, passed away tonight at the age of 69. But his soulful music will remain ageless.

Clemons' death is a difficult one to accept. I think back tonight on my childhood. My parents were from the south, with many of the racial misconceptions that come when you grew up in the south. I was born in California, and started listening to Bruce Springsteen at a young age. In fact, I pretty much listened to his music to the exclusion of all others, which probably isn't the best way to go about it, but helped me become the person I am today.

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Former Sparks player Margo Dydek dies at 37

 Photo: Margo Dydek. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Associated Press. A week after suffering a heart attack, former Sparks player Margo Dydek died Friday in Brisbane, Australia. She was 37.

Dydek was pregnant with her third child when she suffered a heart attack on May 19. She was put in a medically induced coma.

The 7-foot-2 center was the No. 1 pick in the 1998 draft by the Utah Starzz. She also played for San Antonio, Connecticut and two games in 2008 for the Sparks.

She was once considered to be the tallest active women's basketball player in the world.

"The WNBA is deeply saddened by the passing of Margo Dydek," WNBA President Laurel Richie said in a statement.  "She was a tremendous person, role model and athlete who touched the lives of her many fans and made an indelible mark on women's basketball around the world.  Our thoughts and prayers are with her family."

Read more here.

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Notable deaths of 2011

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--Melissa Rohlin

 Photo: Margo Dydek. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Associated Press.

Wrestling community reacts to death of Macho Man Randy Savage

61752981 Macho Man Randy Savage, 58, the second biggest star behind Hulk Hogan in the World Wrestling Federation in the mid- to late '80s, died Friday after an automobile accident in Tampa, Fla., according to wwe.com and wrestlingobserver.com.

You can read more about Savage's death on our Ministry of Gossip blog.

The pro wrestling community reacted swiftly to the news, with WWE announcing plans to honor him at this Sunday's Over the Limit pay-per-view event, and many pro wrestlers sharing their thoughts on Savage on Facebook or Twitter.

The Rock: "RIP Randy 'Macho Man' Savage - you were one of my childhood inspirations and heros. Strength, love, and prayers to the Savage/Poffo family... Today Team Bring It will celebrate a life."

Bret Hart: "I have no words to say. This one hits me hard. We lost one of the best."

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Olympic marathon champion Sammy Wanjiru dies; police say he jumped from balcony [Updated]

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The first Kenyan to win an Olympic gold medal in the marathon has died at age 24 after jumping from a balcony during a domestic dispute, police said Monday.

Sammy Wanjiru died late Sunday at his home in the town of Nyahururu, Kenya. Although national police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said Wanjiru committed suicide, area police chief Jasper Ombati offered another theory.

“Wanjiru came home with another woman friend at around 11:30 p.m. and then when his wife came home and found them she inquired who the lady was,” Ombati said. “They got into an argument. His wife locked them in the bedroom and ran off.

“He then jumped from the bedroom balcony. He is not here to tell us what he was thinking when he jumped. We do not suspect foul play. In our estimation we think he wanted to stop his wife from leaving the compound.”

[Updated at 9:39 a.m.: Wanjiru's agent, Federico Rosa, confirmed there had been a domestic dispute over another woman but said the runner would not have killed himself.

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