"Bowman the Showman"'s body was found in a L.A.-area motel room Thursday
Credit: Chris Cole/Allsport/Getty

Celebrated men’s figure skater Christopher Bowman, widely known as “Bowman the Showman,” was found dead on Thursday in a Los Angeles-area budget-motel room, say authorities.

An autopsy is planned for this weekend, reports the Associated Press. It hasn’t been determined whether the 40-year-old skater’s death was accidental or suicide.

“He just passed away in his sleep,” his mother, Joyce Bowman, told the Detroit Free Press. “His friend told me that he was fine. He just went to bed and didn’t wake up.”

But the life of the skater, who had also been a child actor (in commercials and for one season on Little House on the Prairie), wasn’t all triple axels and toe loops. The two-time national champion had a history of cocaine abuse and mental illness.

“I stood by him because I knew he loved me,” Bowman’s girlfriend, April Freeman, told the Free Press. “He is the kindest, most caring and lost person I ever met.”