Sarah Burke was more than the top women's freestyle skier in the world and more than a four-time X Games champion.
Burke, who died on Thursday, nine days after crashing on a training run in Utah, was an inspiration to her sport and numerous people across the globe.
The Canadian died on Thursday at 29 years of age because of "irreversible damage to her brain due to lack of oxygen and blood after cardiac arrest," according to a statement released by Burke's publicist, per USA Today.
She crashed on the superpipe at Park City Mountain resort on Jan. 10 preparing for the upcoming X Games, where she was favored to win her fifth gold medal. In the crash, Burke tore her vertebral artery, which led to severe bleeding on the brain. She went into cardiac arrest on the scene, where CPR was performed, according to the statement by publicist Nicole Wool.
Burke competed with men when freestyle skiing had yet to become a women's event. She continuously pushed for superpipe skiing to be included in the Olympics and is largely regarded as the primary force for the discipline being accepted into the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, where she was favored to win the gold medal.
Said Peter Judge, CEO of Canada's freestyle team, before Burke's death (via USA Today):
Sarah, in many ways, defines the sport. She's been involved since the very, very early days as one of the first people to bring skis into the pipe. She's also been very dedicated in trying to define her sport but not define herself by winning. For her, it's been about making herself the best she can be rather than comparing herself to other people.
Burke crashed on the same halfpipe that Kevin Pearce did, where he suffered a traumatic brain injury in December 2009. It's yet another reminder of the dangers faced in the discipline and the risks involved.
As we look ahead to the 2014 Winter Olympics, remember the person who made superpipe skiing possible on the big stage. Remember that she died doing what she loved.
Remember Sarah Burke.