Italian skier Elena Fanchini has tragically passed away at the age of just 37 after a battle with cancer.
Fanchini competed at three Winter Olympics and six World Championships for Italy, winning a silver medal in the downhill at the 2005 World Championships. She last raced in December 2017, stepping away from the sport due to her diagnosis.
Fanchini was cleared to return in 2018, but was unable to fully make it back and missed the 2018 Winter Olympics as a result. In a statement, the International Ski Federation (FIS) said: “Mourning has struck the world of winter sports and the Alpine Ski World Cup.
“At the end of a severe illness, Elena Fanchini, the Italian champion who retired from competition in 2017, passed away at her home in Solato at the age of just 37. FIS expresses its deepest condolences to the Fanchini family and the Italian Winter Sports Federation.”
Fanchini died on the same day fellow Italian skier Marta Bassino won the super-G at this year’s World Championships. American skier Mikaela Shiffrin, who finished second behind Bassino, paid a touching tribute to Fanchini.
“This was a day filled with emotions,” she wrote on Twitter. “I’m sending my condolences to the whole Fanchini Family, who have had such a strong impact on our sport and world with their passion and kindness.
“My heart is also with the Italian team, who are hurting very deeply now. We are sharing a hotel during WSC [World Championships] with the Italian team, and what I can tell you is that their love and strength is pure and true, and I am cheering for their entire team, now more than ever.
“Those who we have lost, will never be forgotten.” The US Ski and Snowboard Team also paid tribute to Fanchini.
They said: “She brought so much light to the sport, and we are sending love to her family and friends.” Fanchini’s younger sisters Nadia and Sabrina were also former skiers.