Sarah Burke Dies from Injuries

Canadian freeskier 'passed away peacefully' this morning at Salt Lake City hospital

Sarah Burke. Photo: Sarah Burke collection

Sarah Burke. Photo: Sarah Burke collection

Heartbreaking news today: Canadian freeskier Sarah Burke died this morning at a Salt Lake City hospital, according to a statement from one of Burke’s publicists emailed to

Here’s the statement:

January 19, 2012
Groundbreaking Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke passed away at 9:22 a.m., January 19, 2012, at the University of Utah Hospital from injuries sustained in an accident on the Eagle Superpipe at Park City Mountain Resort on Tuesday, January 10, 2012. She was training for upcoming winter events.

As the result of Sarah’s fall, she suffered a ruptured vertebral artery, one of the four major arteries supplying blood to the brain. The rupture of this artery led to a severe intracranial hemorrhage, which caused Sarah to go into cardiac arrest on the scene. Emergency personnel responded and CPR was administered on the scene during which time she remained without a pulse or spontaneous breathing. Studies in the University of Utah Hospital Emergency Department indicated that she retained brainstem function. She was placed on life support and a protocol of therapeutic hypothermia was initiated to protect her brain. An angiogram indicated the site of arterial bleeding, and on Wednesday, January 11 the injured artery was successfully repaired.

After the operation, numerous neurological examinations, electrodiagnostic tests and imaging studies revealed that Sarah sustained severe irreversible damage to her brain due to lack of oxygen and blood after cardiac arrest, resulting in hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. Sarah passed away peacefully surrounded by those she loved. In accordance with Sarah’s wishes, her organs and tissues were donated to save the lives of others.

While early reports in the media stated that Sarah’s injury was a traumatic brain injury, it is important to note that Sarah’s condition was the result of a lack of oxygen to the brain during cardiac arrest.

The family wishes to express their deep gratitude to Sarah’s dear friends for their love and support, and for traveling to Salt Lake City to comfort the family.

They would also like to thank the University of Utah Hospital and her physicians and care team in the Neuro Critical Care Unit for their incredible care and compassion.

The family was moved by the sincere and heartfelt sympathy expressed by people inspired by Sarah from all around the world. They have received a substantial number of inquiries from those who would like to make a contribution on behalf of Sarah. For more information, please go to

A public celebration of Sarah’s life will be held in the coming weeks.

Posted In: Stories


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  • Pete

    This is devastating news – my thoughts are with her family and friends.

  • Josh

    So sad!! R.I.P. Sarah. Condolences and Prayers to everyone effected by this tragedy.

  • Ivy

    Having watched Sarah in ski movies since I was young, this is horribly sad news. She was inspiring to aspiring skiers, and I looked up to her greatly. She has left a wonderful mark on the sport and will never be forgotten.

  • Noelle Davis

    I am so sad. What a huge loss of an amazing woman. So talented and inspirational. My thoughts and prayers are with the family. :(

  • Jordan Foutz

    This really is the saddest news I’ve read in a long time. Our prayers are with her family.

  • Donna

    Oh wow very sad—-condolences to her family and her husband.

  • Ken Hoffmann

    This news just makes me sad. I was able to meet Sarah years ago in Spokane,WA with my two daughters. R.I.P.

  • Dot Quaid

    What sad, sad news. Thoughts and prayers are with Sarah’s family. friends and the huge number of people she touched in her shortened life. Philippians 1:3 – “I thank my God upon each remembrance of you”. Rest In Peace, dear girl.

  • http://facebook.comdorianislley dorian

    we are sad becouse she is gonne now she leave in tha memories

  • White Wolf

    What a brutal three years it has been for the skiing world. My heart has sunk to a a low. Shane, Kip, Jamie, & others, now Sarah. Hucking it for life little ski sister.
    RIP with Love.

  • Gerry

    Is there any other sport in the world that loses as many athletes as skiing? These athletes do not get paid enough to do what they do for thier sponsors. And I mean athlete in the truest sense. The strength and agility that’s required to hold the line at 50mph, or accurately land on two feet after leaping and flipping through the abyss is utterly amazing. Nevermind what it takes to ski the lines they are skiing in Alaska, I’m just talking park, pipe, and course. Olympic, park, freeskiing, freestyle, you name it…..skiers and riders are in my opinion, the most versatile, well-rounded athletes in the world.
    Very sad to see two or three of these notices a year…..we’re losing to many of our best skiers. Still, I’ll be out there tomorrow to take a turn for Sarah.

    • casey

      its a tragedy yes, but surfing is still more dangerous and surfers are probably just a little bit more vulnerable. The pros surf waves that are anywhere from five to forty feet high. That tons of water that they ride on, one false move and they are done. But again we all will miss her, she was as solid as they come

  • toni

    So sorry to hear this news.. my prayers go out to all who loved her! R.I.P Sarah

  • Michelle

    I am so sorry for your loss. A great person will be missed.

  • Tyler Scales

    Shes’ gunna tear it up with Shane, up in heaven, God’s got his hands full now.

  • Allains

    So sad to hear! Sarah and her family will be in my prayers…

  • Nipper Kettle

    So talented and inspirational.Such a sad day for all of Canada,Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends. Words cannot express our heartfelt sympathy
    Sincerely Mayor Nipper Kettle,Greenwood,BC

  • graeme rodger

    My heartfelt condolances go to her family and friends …. she was a real Canadian star

  • merriberries

    so sorry to hear of her death. My thought and prayers to the family.

  • Troy stevenson

    Always sad when a member of the skiing or boarding community is taken way to soon. Thoughts to her family and friends! RIP Sarah

  • Jocko Kaliszewski

    RIP. I watched you from the beginning. U will be missed.

  • nick

    Super sad, freak ascendents are always shitty but at least it was what she loved to do..I’m sure here family knows that… It probably doesn’t comfort them much but it least it’s something. I know when my friend was killed in an avalanche when we were riding together it didn’t help me much saying that “at least it was what he loved to do ” but it was better than any other way he could have died…

    so sorry for the family of Sarah..hope she’s riding the never ending pow line!

  • Terri

    Wow, she selflessly saved so many lives today… Those people and theire loved ones will have more graditude than can ever be expressed. God bless your family Sarah, and may you rest in peace.

  • http://www, Ryan Nus

    Though her life was relatively short, she did more with it than most people do with theirs given much more time. How long one lives is merely a statistic.

    The loss to us is tragic but what we’ve gained by watching her example eclipses the grief and, like all great peoples’ live, serves as an important lesson about the inherent power we all have to be better and purposeful human beings.

    Rest in Peace, Sarah. You’ve earned it.

  • Jeff


  • rob

    lost another great, I am sad about this -

    I cross the Green Mountain
    I sit by the stream
    Heaven blazing in my head I
    I dreamt a monsterous dream
    Something came up
    Out of the sea
    Swept through the land of
    The rich and the free

    from Bob Dylan’s “cross the green mountain”


    You ever been in our hearts

  • Angie Robinson

    Praying for Rory and Sarah’s family. Sarah’s 2007 Roxy poster hangs over my bed – she was and IS an inspiration to women of ALL ages who share her love for freeskiing. We will miss he, but know she lived her dream every day. ;o)

  • barbara elmore-vollmuller

    You can shed tears that she has gone
    Or you can smile that she has lived

    You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
    Or you can open your eyes and see all she has left

    Your heart can be empty because you cannot see her
    Or you can be full of the love you shared

    You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
    Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday

    You can remember her and only that she has gone
    Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on

    You can try and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
    Or you can do what she would want:

    Smile, open your eyes, love and go on

  • Peter Macdonald

    R.I.P. Sarah. Condolences to all her friends and especially her family. May she ride white fluffly clouds in the sky forever!

    Peter, from Scotland

  • Ciaran B

    RIP Sarah may the Mountains touch the night sky and there be fields of endless powder and you find old friends and new ones close to our hearts to shred with.

    Your passion for adventure has touched a lot of people here who some day will to find that endless winter.

    Shred always

  • Gail & Mervyn

    We are so sad to hear of this tragedy, our best wishes go out to her family and friends.

  • muheet bhat

    very sad news for me. a legend has passed away. she has given her life to skiing. may her soul rest in peace.____4m kashmir.

  • Kevin

    Burke will be remembered for the legacy she left for women in superpipe skiing, a sister sport to the more popular snowboarding brand that has turned Shaun White, Hannah Teter and others into stars.

    TheInset Magazine

  • muheet bhat

    oh no! very sad news for me. a legend has passed away. really a legend.she has given her life to skiing. may her soul rest in peace.____4m kashmir.

  • Emily A. Dewire

    Dearest Sarah and Family and Friends,
    With heartfelt wishes for strength and love and deep appreciation for a beautiful life so wonderfully lived on earth. We pray for you all at this time. We will hold you in our hearts forever Sarah. Thank you for all of your love and support you showed in the world of skiing and in life itself. May you live on, to bigger and greater things that this universe has to offer.
    Are prayers are with you all.
    Emily A Dewire

  • Gnarly One

    May you rest in peace Sarah…Such a beautiful soul taken from earth….

  • Janet

    My prayers are with the family I have been watching and hearing about her on the news untill someone in my family came and told me she passed away
    RIP and my god be with the family at this time .

  • Mark Farmer

    R.I.P. Sarah!

  • Marilyn

    A very dear loss to family and friends – I used to ski freestyle in the 60′s and was impressed with Sarah’s talents and fearlessness with using challening terrain! My heartfelt sympathy to her family. Kind Regards.

  • JJ

    What a beautiful Lady, so young, gifted and talented. I did not know of her, I was just sent a video of her marking her untimely death and I thought just by that small clip what amazing talent she had. May she rest in peace. My heart goes out to her family and friends. xxx

  • Labor

    Condolences from Japan.
    Our prayers to the family and friends.
    Stay strong !

  • Eli

    :( Family if you need anything ask! I will keep you in my prayers also.

  • Lou

    Condoleance from France and Bulagria.
    The ride world has lost one of its best persons…
    may mountain pray too for her
    Stay strong

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  • Dylan Johnston

    R.I.P. Always sad 2 hear another persons passed away, at least she was doing something she loved

  • marolyn

    So sorry for this sad news. My heart goes out to the family and friends. This is such a sad story especially for those that love or have loved to ski and to know this happened to someone who loved this sport and had such a great talent.

  • Sutah Ann Robins

    I am so sad to hear this news. RIP Sarah. My thoughts to her husband and family and friends.

  • Kelly

    My deepest sympathy goes to Sarah’s family and friends. Such tragic news. Even in her passing she was generous enough to donate her organ’s to other’s in need so she will “forever” live on through the people she saved and the families they in turn will create. What an amazing legacy! As a fellow Canadian I am outraged with how the Canadian government is treating her family and ashamed to call myself a Canadian. I apologize for their behavior.

  • Gv

    Dear family members and friends:

    We are all so proud of Sarah as a wonderful person, a greatest inspirer to skier’s community.

    But from our hearts, we will truely miss this greatest personality.our prayers and support will always be with you

    from India

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  • roseli

    é triste tão linda e talentosa tão jovem que triste meus sentimentos a família.

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    Sarah burke was such an amazing girl! She will always be my role modul and idol! Even though Sarah passed away and it was very sad for me she will still always be in my heart and help me fulfill my dreams! I want to be an olympic skier and she motivates me to do my best every day. I would feel like i honoured her so much if i was in the olympics and thinking of her when i go down my run! “i love u Sarah u will always be in my heart<3"

  • discus

    I thought Sarah Burke was a fantastic skier for the winter olympics, My prayer go her family and friends, Lisa Weiner

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