Olympic skier Mikaela Shiffrin 'heartbroken beyond comprehension' after father's death

The Olympic gold medalist is mourning her father, Jeff Shiffrin, who died suddenly this week, reportedly from a head injury suffered in an accident at home
/ Source: TODAY

Olympic skier Mikaela Shiffrin and her family are "heartbroken beyond comprehension" after the sudden death of her father at 65 on Sunday.

Jeff Shiffrin died of a head injury suffered in an accident in Colorado, the Eagle County coroner confirmed to The Aspen Times. The accident occurred at his home in Edwards, according to Ski Racing Magazine.

Mikaela Shiffrin and her family are mourning the death of her father, Jeff, (at right) from an accident at their home in Colorado. Helen H. Richardson / Getty Images

Shiffrin was an anesthesiologist with Vail Health and Anesthesia Partners of Colorado and also an avid photographer, often seen taking pictures of his daughter on the medal podium after races, according to a release by U.S. Ski & Snowboard.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist confirmed her father's death on Instagram Tuesday.

"My family is heartbroken beyond comprehension about the unexpected passing of my kindhearted, loving, caring, patient, wonderful father,'' she wrote. "Our mountains, our ocean, our sunrise, our heart, our soul, our everything. He taught us so many valuable lessons...but above everything else, he taught us the golden rule: be nice, think first.

"This is something I will carry with me forever. He was the firm foundation of our family and we miss him terribly. Thank you, from the depths of my heart, for respecting my family's privacy as we grieve during this unimaginable and devastating time."

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Mikaela Shiffrin, 24, and her mother and coach, Eileen, were in Europe on the alpine World Cup tour at the time of the accident. They returned home on Sunday to be by Jeff's side along with her brother, Taylor, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard.

"I am without words today as we mourn the loss of Jeff Shiffrin," Tiger Shaw, CEO of U.S. Ski & Snowboard, said in the news release. "Jeff was a good friend and we will all miss him terribly. Our — and the entire ski world’s — thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this incredibly difficult time."

Jeff was a lifelong skier who first picked up the sport while growing up in New Jersey and traveling to Vermont with his family, according to Sports Illustrated. He later was a member of the ski team at Dartmouth.

The proud father often stayed out of the limelight during his daughter's races, preferring to take photos while his wife handled coaching duties.

"I let Eileen and Mikaela do their routine,'' he told The Denver Post in 2013. "It’s about them. In a lot of this, I’m just as much a spectator as anybody else. And that’s the way it should be.”