Jan 30, 2014, 9:52 AM EDT
Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe was admitted to a Sydney hospital as he again fights depression and alcohol abuse.
Thorpe was hurt in a fall this week, prompting family members to seek medical help. He was admitted to the hospital Wednesday, according to Australian reports.
“Yes, it’s serious but there’s not a lot I can or want to add,” broadcaster and friend Alan Jones said. “Ian is a beautiful person, but he has difficulty recognizing his problems.”
Thorpe, 31, is his nation’s most decorated Olympian with nine medals, five gold, but has dealt with both issues for a long time, well before his failed comeback attempt for the 2012 Olympics.
“Not even my family is aware that I’ve spent a lot of my life battling what I can only describe as a crippling depression,” Thorpe wrote in his 2012 book, “This is Me: The Autobiography.”
Thorpe also wrote that he abused alcohol on “numerous occasions,” particularly between 2002 and 2004, his final Olympics in Athens.
“I used alcohol as a means to rid my head of terrible thoughts, as a way of managing my moods — but I did it behind closed doors, where many depressed people choose to fight their demons before they realize they can’t do it without help,” he wrote. “I abused myself this way — always alone and in a mist of disgrace. It’s like a weight is pressing down on you. There are days when you just can’t get out of bed. You cannot face the world.
“You tell yourself simple things like: ‘Just get to the kitchen and get a glass of water.’ But not being able to do something so basic is frightening.”
Thorpe has spent much of the last two years in Switzerland, though he has been spotted at the last two Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne.
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