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U.S. Ice Skater John Coughlin Commits Suicide After Being Suspended From Sport

Ice Skater John Coughlin Commits Suicide
Source: Getty Images

Jan. 19 2019, Updated 7:54 p.m. ET

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American ice skater John Coughlin reportedly killed himself after he'd been suspended from the sport he loved.

According to his sister Angela Laune and others from the figure skating world, he died Friday, January 18.

"My wonderful strong, amazingly compassionate brother John Coughlin took his own life earlier today. I have no words. I love you John..." Laune wrote of her beloved brother in a Facebook post.

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Before his passing at his home in Kansas City, Missouri, pairs skater Coughlin, 33, had received an interim suspension from the U.S. Center for SafeSport and US Figure Skating on Thursday, January 17, for unspecified conduct. He was barred from any activities sanctioned by the skating body or the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The center is a U.S. Olympic Committee agency with oversight of sexual misconduct and other abuse allegations reported to national governing bodies.

The shocking death came just days before the 2019 U.S. Figure Skating Championships were set to start in Detroit, Michigan this Tuesday, January 22.

"We are stunned at the news of the death of two-time US pairs champion John Coughlin," US Figure Skating said Saturday, January 19, in a statement. "Our heartfelt and deepest sympathies are with his father Mike, sister Angela and the rest of his family. Out of respect to the family, we will have no further comment until a later time."

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Handsome Coughlin won national pairs championships with two partners. He skated with Caitlin Yankowskas in 2011 and with Caydee Denney the next year. Coughlin represented the United States at the world championships during those years.

Coughlin and Denney didn't receive one of the two coveted American spots in the pairs' event for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

He began skating at age 6 and was the son of a police officer.

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Coughlin told The Washington Post in 2011 that he skated in honor of his late mother, Stacey, who had suffered from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and died in February 2010 at the age of 48.

The fun-loving skater was previously described as a "wise guy who loves the humor of Will Ferrell."

In his last tweet, on December 1, 2018, Coughlin said he was going to see comedian Chris D'Elia perform in Boston.

Now, sadly, Coughlin has joined the list of other ice skating tragedies although it's known as winter's most beautiful sport.

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Coughlin's former coach, Dalilah Sappenfield, wrote on Facebook on Saturday: "Yesterday I received the most numbing, devastating, and heartbreaking call!... My heart aches incredibly to know John took his life yesterday. His family, the skating community, and I lost a very special man who lived his life with integrity and kindness."

Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir wrote on Twitter, "John Coughlin was a person who made things fun. He was a person who was talented, had an incredible laugh & would go out of his way to cheer someone up. His kindness is something I'll never forget and his light will be missed. My prayers are with his family & friends."

Former World Pairs Champion Randy Gardner said, "This is tragic any way you look at it. With the allegations still unknown, we have yet to know the pressure he may have been under. I hate to hear of this as we're also trying to protect the athletes in our sport."

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