Freestyle skier Sarah Burke dead after accident

Jan 19, 2012 at 5:52 p.m. ET

Canadian X-Games champion Sarah Burke passed away nine days after a violent course accident in Utah.

Sarah Burke dead at 29

Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke passed away Thursday from injuries she received in a skiing accident last week. She was 29.

The champion's publicist said tests showed that she suffered "irreversible damage to her brain due to lack of oxygen and blood after cardiac arrest."

Burke was participating in a sponsor event at the Park City Mountain Resort in Utah on Jan. 10 when she crashed on a dangerous half pipe. She tore her vertebral artery, which led to bleeding on the brain.

Her family — and her skiing family — expressed their thanks to those who supported Burke in the days after her injury.

"The family expresses their heartfelt gratitude for the international outpouring of support they have received from all the people Sarah touched," her family said in a statement.

Peter Judge, the CEO of the Canadian freestyle team, added his thoughts on her contributions to the sport.

"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," he said. "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."

The saddest part? Burke was a newlywed.

"I just got married to Rory Bushfield, who's another skier, and he does more big mountain stuff so we're always on different schedules," she told in July.

She was also part of the 2014 Canadian Olympic team and was pumped to start training.

"It's been something we've been working for a long time and try to push to make happen. We heard in April that we're going through and we'll have a Canadian team formed, so, yeah, it's incredible. I'm really excited to get to be a part of it."

Burke will live on, though — her organs and tissues have been donated to deserving patients, per her wishes.

Image courtesy FayesVision/WENN

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