Suspended figure skater dies by suicide

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) - John Coughlin, a two-time U.S. pairs champion recently suspended from figure skating, has died by suicide. He was 33.

U.S. Figure Skating released a statement Saturday and cited his sister, Angela Laune. The sister said in a Facebook post that her "wonderful, strong, amazingly compassionate brother John Coughlin took his own life. ... I have no words." There were no further details.

Coughlin received an interim suspension from the U.S. Center for SafeSport and USFS on Thursday for unspecified conduct. He was barred from any activities sanctioned by the skating body or the U.S. Olympic Committee. 

USA Today first reported the death in Kansas City, Missouri. Police there did not immediately respond to email and phone messages from The Associated Press.

USFS said it was "stunned' by the news and extended "heartfelt and deepest sympathies" to the family. The organization said it would have no further comment "until a later time."

The International Skating Union also said it was "shocked" and offered "kindest thoughts" in this "time of sorrow." Coughlin was chair of the ISU athletes commission and a member of a technical committee."

Coughlin won national pairs championships with two partners. He teamed with Caitlin Yankowskas in 2011 and with Caydee Denney the next year. 

If you or someone you know is in crisis, there are places to get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at 1-800-273-8255. You can also chat with them online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/.

Here are some common warning signs of suicide, as provided by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings
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