Bill Johnson, American alpine skier, Died at 55


William Dean “Bill” Johnson was born on March 30, 1960, and died on January 21, 2016.

He was a World Cup alpine ski racer from the United States.

Bill was the first American male to win an Olympic gold medal in alpine skiing, winning the downhill at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.

Bill was the first racer (of either gender) from outside the Alps to win an Olympic downhill.

The skier had personal life suffered as well, when his 13-month-old son, Ryan, drowned in a hot tub in 1992.

During his 40’s he divorced his wife, and he was bankrupt and living in his class A motorhome when he mounted an improbable comeback bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

The comeback ended quickly on March 22, 2001, after he crashed during a training run prior to the downhill race of the 2001 U.S. Alpine Championships, held at The Big Mountain near Whitefish, Montana.

Bill received some serious injury to the left side of his brain, almost bit off his tongue, and was comatose for three weeks.

Bill Johnson lived in Zigzag, near Mount Hood, and remained brain-damaged and in need of constant care, mostly from his mother, in 2010.

The skier became slightly more functional though his speech and memory were permanently impaired.

After suffering a series of mini-strokes from 2010 over the course of the previous ten years, after he fell a victim to a massive stroke and was moved to a long-term care facility in Gresham, Oregon.

Because of the stroke, Bill lost the ability to sit up unassisted and could no longer use his right hand.

He could not see out of his left eye and further lost the ability to speak above a whisper and also suffered great pain when swallowing, which made feeding him difficult.

In June 2013, Bill incurred an infection that nearly took his life.

Bill had been put on life support while doctors worked to fight the infection.

Bill choose to in July to remove himself from life support and refuse further treatment.

He said that the next time something like this happens, his wishes were to be left alone so he can die.

Following 2014, after a return to long-term care, he was free of infection, able to move one side of his body, eat and smoke with assistance, and communicate using a letter board.

Johnson health worsen.

Bill Johnson passed away at 55 yrs old, at the care facility in Gresham.