Sarah Burke has passed away due to injuries from an accident in Utah. She fell nine days ago while training at the Park City Mountain resort and suffered "serious injuries" and was in a medically-induced coma. Twitter and Facebook have been abuzz with fans mourning and praising Burke for her championships and her personal decision to be an organ donor.
Doctors said that she sustained "irreversible damage to her brain due to lack of oxygen and blood after cardiac arrest." Burke's fall caused severe bleeding on the brain and led to the cardiac arrest. Her family has issued a statement saying they "express their heartfelt gratitude for the international outpouring of support they have received from all the people Sarah touched."
Burke was a freestyle skier for Canada, and CEO Peter Judge told reporters, "Sarah, in many ways, defines the sport. She's been involved since the very, very early days as one of the first people to bring skis into the pipe. She's also been very dedicated in trying to define her sport but not define herself by winning. For her, it's been about making herself the best she can be rather than comparing herself to other people."
After an injury in 2009, Burke became an advocate of safe skiing and stated, "I've been very lucky with the injuries I've had. It's part of the game. Everybody gets hurt." Burke also gave an interview in 2010 in which she reflected, "I think we're all doing this, first off, because we love it and want to be the best."
In an ironic twist of fate, Burke and husband Rory Bushfield told the Ski Channel that they hoped to die on a mountain. "It is where we are happiest. It's where we met, we live and play and..." Bushfield finished Burke's sentence, "hopefully where we die." Burke echoed her husband's sentiments, "where we die."