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Suspended Skating Champ Dead of Apparent Suicide

John Coughlin had twice won the US pairs title
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2019 12:22 PM CST
Caydee Denney and John Coughlin compete during the pairs free skate at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
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(Newser) – A former figure skating champion who had just been suspended from the sport died Friday—apparently by taking his own life, USA Today reports. "My wonderful, strong, amazingly compassionate brother John Coughlin took his own life earlier today," his sister Angela Laune wrote on Facebook in the strongest confirmation thus far of Coughlin's death. "I have no words." A Kansas City police sergeant said officers responded Friday to a suicide call at the house where Coughlin's father resides, but police haven't released a report. Coughlin, 33, had twice been the US pairs champion and was well-known as a TV commentator and coach. He was also a "rising star" in US Figure Skating and the International Skating Union, per USA Today.

But the US Center for SafeSport—which opened in 2017 to investigate sexual-misconduct and other physical and emotional abuse claims, per Fox4KC—restricted Coughlin's figure-skating participation in December and on Thursday raised his disciplinary action to "Interim Suspension." That meant he couldn't partake "in any capacity, in any activity or competition" headed by the US Olympic Committee or USFS, which included commentating at next week's national figure skating championships in Detroit. "While I wish I could speak freely about the unfounded allegations levied against me, the SafeSport rules prevent me from doing so since the case remains pending," said Coughlin earlier this month. Anyone with suicidal thoughts is urged to call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. (Read more suicide stories.)

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