Skip to content

1984 Olympic downhill skiing gold medalist Bill Johnson takes himself off life support

Jul 16, 2013, 8:04 PM EDT

image Getty Images

Bill Johnson, the 1984 Olympic gold medalist in the men’s downhill, has “shut himself down,” his mother told 3 Wire Sports.

“He has no quality of life from this point on and never will,” DB Johnson-Cooper said.

In a note sent Sunday to family and friends, DB wrote, “The doctor was very frank with him and Bill knew exactly what he wanted. He shed a few tears, which was a very hard thing to see.”

On the telephone Tuesday, she said, “He has no physical use of any part of his body. He has difficulty even raising his head. His mind is still very keen but his body has literally shut down.”

Johnson, 53, was hospitalized June 29 and spent two weeks in intensive care while doctors unsuccessfully attempted to find the source of an infection that attacked all of his major organs, according to the U.S. Ski Team.

Johnson predicted he would win the downhill at the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Games and followed through, becoming the first American man to wear Olympic Alpine gold.

The man with the “Ski To Die” tattoo was left off the 1988 Olympic team, lost his son to drowning in 1992, and his marriage ended in 1999.

Johnson attempted a comeback prior to the 2002 Olympics but a horrible skiing crash left him in a temporary coma and with severe brain injuries. In 2010, he suffered a major stroke.

Latest Posts
  1. Michael Phelps’ comeback at Mesa Grand Prix competition, broadcast schedules

    Apr 23, 2014, 11:10 AM EDT

    Michael Phelps AP

    When to watch Michael Phelps’ return to competition.

  2. Meb Keflezighi congratulated by President Obama

    Apr 22, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT

    Meb Keflezighi AP

    How Keflezighi spent the morning after his upset victory.

  3. Ryan Hall, other U.S. runners wouldn’t help East Africans catch Meb Keflezighi

    Apr 22, 2014, 1:57 PM EDT

    Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi AP

    Americans’ tactic played small role in Keflezighi’s victory.

  4. Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski added to NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage

    Apr 22, 2014, 10:39 AM EDT

    Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski Getty Images

    Sochi figure skating analysts will be fashion experts at Churchill Downs.

  5. Apolo Ohno plans to do Ironman World Championships

    Apr 22, 2014, 10:11 AM EDT

    Apolo Anton Ohno AP

    Ohno follows NFL wide receiver, celebrity chef in ambitious attempt.

  6. Lance Armstrong’s longtime team manager banned 10 years

    Apr 22, 2014, 8:21 AM EDT

    Johan Bruyneel AP

    Johan Bruyneel guided Lance Armstrong’s teams for all seven stripped Tour de France wins.

  7. Emotions flow for runners, spectators at Boston Marathon

    Apr 21, 2014, 8:42 PM EDT

    Boston Strong AP

    “I needed it for healing,” one survivor said.

  8. Meb Keflezighi stuns to win Boston Marathon (video)

    Apr 21, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    Meb Keflezighi AP

    First U.S. man to win Boston Marathon since 1983.

  9. 2014 Boston Marathon highlights: American Meb Keflezighi, Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo win (VIDEO)

    Apr 21, 2014, 1:21 PM EDT

    2014 B.A.A. Boston Marathon Getty Images

    Meb Keflezighi made history on an emotional day at the 2014 Boston Marathon by becoming the first American man to win the race since 1983. Watch highlights of the 38-year-old Keflezighi’s victory here, courtesy of Universal Sports: Keflezighi reacts to his historic win and the emotion of winning one year after the Boston Marathon bombing,…

  10. Rita Jeptoo repeats as Boston Marathon winner in course record

    Apr 21, 2014, 11:54 AM EDT

    Rita Jeptoo Getty Images

    Shalane Flanagan led early but was dropped around 21 miles.

  11. Tatyana McFadden wins another Boston Marathon on special day

    Apr 21, 2014, 10:53 AM EDT

    Tatyana McFadden AP

    Paralympic champion prevails one month after winning silver in Sochi.

  12. Security heightened early at Boston Marathon

    Apr 21, 2014, 9:58 AM EDT

    Boston Marathon AP

    Double the police presence from last year.

  13. Tedy Bruschi, retired NFL player, running Boston Marathon

    Apr 21, 2014, 9:38 AM EDT

    Tedy Bruschi Getty Images

    Former linebacker ran in 2012 and saw the first bomb from a hotel last year.

  14. Boston Marathon starts after moment of silence

    Apr 21, 2014, 9:07 AM EDT

    Boston Strong

    Race starts by honoring those lost and those who saved at last year’s race.

  15. Boston Marathon finish line web cam available online

    Apr 19, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT

    Boston Marathon finish line Getty Images

    Watch every runner cross the finish line on Monday.

  16. Ryan Hall returns to marathon racing in Boston, by way of Ethiopia

    Apr 19, 2014, 11:41 AM EDT

    Ryan Hall Getty Images

    Two-time Olympian hasn’t run a marathon since the London Games.

  17. Boston Marathon to move forward with traditional spectacle of a finish

    Apr 18, 2014, 9:41 PM EDT

    Boston Marathon

    All eyes will be on a changed Boylston Street on Monday.

  18. Boston Marathon TV, race schedules

    Apr 18, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Boston Marathon finish line Getty Images

    Universal Sports will have live coverage and is on a free preview nationwide.

  19. Boston Marathon men’s preview

    Apr 18, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT

    Lelisa Desisa AP

    Monday’s race figures to come down to two men.

  20. Boston Marathon women’s preview

    Apr 18, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Shalane Flanagan AP

    An American with Massachusetts ties wants to win.

Featured video

Inside Michael Phelps' comeback