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Sarah Burke, Canadian freestyle skier, dies

January 19, 2012 |  1:37 pm


Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke died Thursday morning, a little over a week after she crashed at the bottom of the superpipe during a training run in Utah. Burke was 29.

Burke sustained a ruptured vertebral artery in the accident and went into cardiac arrest. She was placed on life support and underwent surgery at a hospital in Salt Lake City but had "severe irreversible damage to her brain" because of the lack of oxygen and blood after the cardiac arrest, according to a statement released by Burke's publicist.

Burke was a four-time Winter X Games champion. She lived near Whistler in British Colombia.

"What defines Sarah now is what has always defined her," Canadian Freestyle Ski Association CEO Peter Judge told the Deseret News. "She was always very gregarious, very outgoing and popular with those around her. She is very giving in terms of her time, especially in the sport.

"In many ways, Sarah defines the sport. She was one of the first people to get into the pipe and bring skis to the pipe. She's always been very dedicated in trying to define her sport, and it's never been about just winning. It's been about pushing the limits. She's always been more concerned about making herself the best, rather than comparing herself to other people."

According to the news release, Burke was surrounded by her loved ones when she died.


Freeskiing star Sarah Burke seriously injured in crash

Freeskiing star Sarah Burke remains in medically induced coma

-- Melissa Rohlin

Photo: Sarah Burke. Credit: David Zalubowski / Associated Press