The 29-year-old gold medalist was unable to recover from serious injuries she sustained during a crash on the slopes

By Alla Byrne
Updated January 19, 2012 05:00 PM
Credit: David Zalubowski/AP

Following her tragic ski accident last week, Sarah Burke has died, her publicist confirms. She was 29 years old.

The Canadian ski pro had been in a coma since she crashed during a training run on the superpipe in Park City, Utah on Jan. 11.

Last Thursday she underwent successful surgery to repair a torn vertebral artery that caused bleeding between her brain and her skull, but remained comatose.

Hospital officials say Burke suffered a ruptured artery, which caused her to go into cardiac arrest. She sustained irreversible damage to her brain due to lack of oxygen and blood following cardiac arrest.

As a result, Burke passed away “peacefully surrounded by those she loved,” her parents Jan and Gordon, sister Anna and husband Rory Bushfield said in a statement. Her organs and tissues were donated per Burke’s wishes.

Burke was a free-style skier from Canada and considered a pioneer in her sport. She won gold medals in the Winter X-Games and World Free Style Skiing Championships.

“The family expresses their heartfelt gratitude for the international outpouring of support they have received from all the people Sarah touched,” they add.

The family has received a substantial number of inquiries from those who would like to make a contribution on behalf of Burke. For more information, please go to