Watch CBS News

Figure skating champion John Coughlin dies at 33, one day after suspension

U.S. figure skating champion John Coughlin died by suicide Friday, one day after being suspended from the sport over unspecified allegations.

"We are stunned at the news of the death of two-time U.S. pairs champion John Coughlin," U.S. Figure Skating said in a statement Saturday. "Our heartfelt and deepest sympathies are with his father Mike, sister Angela and the rest of his family. Out of respect to the family, we will have no further comment until a later time."

In a short Facebook post Friday, Coughlin's sister Angela Laune said, "My wonderful, strong, amazingly compassionate brother John Coughlin took his own life earlier today. I have no words. I love you John. Always Always Brother Bear..."

Police in Kansas City, Missouri, where Coughlin lived, confirmed that his death was a suicide. 

Coughlin, 33, won a U.S. pairs title in 2011 with Caitlin Yankowskas and another in 2012 with Caydee Denney. He was also a coach, brand manager and TV commentator for competitions.  

The U.S. Center for SafeSport, a non-profit that works to prevent abuse in sports, announced in December that Coughlin's participation in figure skating was restricted as the organization looked into a matter involving him. 

John Coughlin at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, California, on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012.  AP

On Thursday, SafeSport said Coughlin would face an interim suspension. The same day, U.S. Figure Skating said Coughlin was temporarily suspended from participating "in any capacity, in any activity or competition" tied to the skating league or the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Coughlin told USA Today in early January that the allegations against him were "unfounded" and he was prevented from speaking about the case while it was pending. The nature of the allegation remains unclear.

Coughlin's death came just days before the national figure skating championships begin in Detroit. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.