Figure skater John Coughlin dead at 33

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U.S. figure skater John Coughlin has passed away.

On Friday, Jan. 18, 2019, Coughlin died by apparent suicide in Kansas City, Mo., CBS News reports. He had been temporarily suspended from participating in figure skating just a day earlier. He was 33 years old.

Coughlin is survived by his father, Mike, and sister, Angela Laune. At the time of this writing, further details surrounding his passing have not been revealed. However, Laune has since confirmed the news on Facebook. “My wonderful, strong, amazingly compassionate brother John Coughlin took his own life earlier today,” she wrote on Friday evening. “I have no words. I love you John. Always Always Brother Bear.”

Laune later noted that Coughlin’s funeral will be held at Kansas City’s Christ The King on Tuesday, Jan. 29. A GoFundMe page has since been set up by Coughlin’s former coach, Dalilah Sappenfield, to cover funeral expenses. At the time of this writing, it has already exceeded its $25,000 goal with over $33,000 donated.

Readers may be aware that Coughlin was accused of unspecified sexual misconduct in December 2018. The coach and two-time national pairs champion later told USA Today that the claims made against him were “unfounded.”

However, after the U.S. Center for SafeSport conducted an investigation into the allegations, U.S. Figure Skating announced Coughlin’s “temporary suspension” on Thursday, Jan. 17. According to its press release, Coughlin would be “prohibited from participating, in any capacity, in any activity or competition authorized by, organized by, or under the auspices of the United States Olympic Committee.”

Following Coughlin’s passing, U.S. Figure Skating released a statement via Twitter on Saturday, Jan. 19. “We are stunned at the news of the death of two-time U.S. pairs champion John Coughlin,” it read. “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.”

For her part, Laune took to Facebook again on Sunday, Jan. 20 to say that she and her father “are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support during this time of tremendous grief and mourning.” She added, “We have received so many messages and calls and appreciate each and every one more than can possibly be imagined.”

“My brother was loved beyond measure not just by family, but by all of the people that truly knew him,” Laune continued. “Dad and I are feeling that love. Know that we see the support and appreciate it more than words can express. We are trying to respond to everyone while we are also planning for John. We are sending our love out to everyone who has reached out.”

Our thoughts are with Coughlin’s loved ones during this difficult time.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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