Snowmobiler Caleb Moore Was Brain Dead, Coroner Says, After Winter X Games Accident
(GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.) -- Texas snowmobiler Caleb Moore, who died Thursday morning in a Colorado hospital after being severely injured in the 2013 Winter X Games, was declared brain dead and his organs will be donated, the Pitkin County coroner's office said Friday. He was 25.
Moore's family announced that the decorated X Games competitor had died at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo., after succumbing to injuries he sustained last week at the event in Aspen, Colo., when his snowmobile flipped on top of him in a violent crash during competition.
"Caleb Moore passed away," the Moore family said Thursday in a statement through family spokeswoman Chelsea Lawson. "He will be truly missed and never forgotten."
"The family wishes to express their deep gratitude for all the prayers and support they have received from all the fans, friends and family around the world that Caleb has inspired."
Deputy Coroner Eric Hansen ruled Moore's death was accidental, according to a press release Friday.
This was the first competitor's death as a result of injuries sustained during competition in the 18-year reign of the X Games, which is produced by ABC's sister network ESPN.
ESPN released a statement Thursday in which it offered condolences to the family and said it would conduct a "thorough review" into the X Games' freestyle snowmobiling event and "adopt appropriate changes" for future games.
"For 18 years, we have worked closely on safety issues with athletes, course designers and other experts," the network said, adding that Moore was hurt performing a move he had done several times before. "Still, when the world's best compete at the highest level in any sport, risks remain."
Moore, a former all-terrain vehicle racer from Krum, Texas, had been in critical condition at St. Mary's Hospital for days after developing complications in his heart and brain after the Jan. 24 accident.
During his run in the X Games' Snowmobile Freestyle finals, Moore was completing a back-flip when he came up short and the skis on his sled hit the landing. The 450-pound machine flipped end-over-end.
Moore went over the handlebars of the snowmobile and it came crashing down on top of him. He tumbled down the slope before coming to a stop at the bottom, where he lay on the ground for several minutes.
He eventually got up and walked off the course with help, but he was rushed to Aspen Valley Hospital with a concussion, according to an X Games medical report. While there, doctors discovered bleeding around Moore's heart and he was flown to St. Mary's Hospital.
St. Mary's Hospital declined ABC News' request for comment.
Moore underwent emergency heart surgery on Jan. 25 and remained in intensive care. On Sunday, the Moore family released a statement through ESPN saying, "His cardiac injury has led to a secondary complication involving his brain."
Moore's younger brother Colten, 23, also competed in the Snowmobile Freestyle finals and crashed during the X Games competition. He was taken to the hospital with a separated pelvis but was released on Jan. 25 and "will not require surgery," according to Lawson.
An online fundraiser was set up on behalf of the Moore family on Tuesday to help the family pay for medical bills. As of this writing, the fund has raised over $49,200.
Jackson "Jacko" Strong, Moore's fellow X Games snowmobile competitor, is auctioning off his 2012 Polaris IQ 600R snowmobile, which he rode in competition at this year's X Games, to help benefit the Moore family.
Strong, a 21-year-old Australian native, also crashed during last week's X Games competition. During his Best Trick snowmobile run, he let go of the handlebars and attempted to grab the back of the sled in a midair stunt, but couldn't get a good grip and flew off. The snowmobile landed on its skis and raced into the crowd watching on the sidelines. No one was seriously injured.
The Moore brothers are decorated Winter X Games veterans. They made their debut in competitive snowmobiling in 2010 in Aspen after years of racing ATVs.
Caleb, who has four Winter X Games medals, took home the bronze medal in Snowmobile Freestyle at last year's games, and stood next to brother Colten on the podium, who had won gold.
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