Bode Miller is mourning the tragic death of his youngest child, daughter Emeline Grier Miller, after the 19-month-old drowned in a pool in the neighborhood of Coto de Caza, California, on Sunday.
However, it’s not the first time Bode experienced an unexpected loss.
In April 2013, his brother Chelone “Chilly” Miller died of an apparent seizure, stemming from a 2005 motorcycle accident that placed him in coma for 11 days. He was 29.
His death came five years before the death of the Olympic skier’s beloved daughter.
“We are beyond devastated. Our baby girl, Emmy, passed away yesterday. Never in a million years did we think we would experience a pain like this,” the 40-year-old Olympic alpine skier said on Instagram Monday.
“Her love, her light, her spirit will never be forgotten. Our little girl loved life and lived it to it’s fullest everyday. Our family respectfully requests privacy during this painful time,” he said.
Although Bode excelled on skis, Chilly mastered the mountain on a snowboard — and hoped to take his skills to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. But it was not meant to be.
However, Bode did compete at the Games while grieving his brother, and told Access Hollywood in 2013 that he hoped to turn his grief into “inspiration.”
“I think for one thing, it’s too fresh. Any time you’re gathering emotional energy to channel into something, it has to be fairly contained and it has to be real but it also has to be something you feel confident in unleashing and I think that’s still pretty fresh,” he explained. “It’s more just a tragedy. I can use it and turn it in some way for inspiration because, like you said, he had wanted to go to the Olympics and he’s just my little brother — I had seen him compete his whole life.”
The athlete continued, “I probably prefer just to mourn and be normal about it and treat my Olympics the way that it’s meant to be treated. I’m confident that I can go in there and win.”
However, Bode was overcome with emotion in a post-race interview after winning the bronze medal in the super-G, and breaking his own record as the most decorated American Alpine skier in Olympic history.
“It was really hard and just attached emotion to that he wanted to come to these Games. I thought that he would probably have a chance at making it, then for him to pass away the way that he did really kind of connected with my journey coming back,” he explained in a press conference, according to a video from the Washington Post. “Today I felt like that was all very connected and very raw and emotional for me.
Following the race, Bode tweeted a message to his fans.
“Thanks for all the support, today was one of the most emotional days of my life,” he said. “I miss my brother.”
He also defended NBC reporter Christin Cooper, whom some accused of pushing too hard with her questions following the race, and causing Bode to break down in tears.
“I appreciate everyone sticking up for me. Please be gentle w christin cooper, it was crazy emotional and not all her fault,” he tweeted.
In a December 2013 interview with the Associated Press, Bode also said that he and his brother were very close.
“There are parts of his life, or his attitude, that I just naturally integrate maybe more into my life, which affects the way I do everything — ski, training and everything else,” he said.