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Former U.S. Olympic Athlete Collapses, Dies Suddenly

Our prayers and thoughts go out to the family and the loved ones of former Olympic athlete Richard Thornton.

Thornton, who was 65 years old, tragically passed away on a California beach while surfing with friends, his family told the media.

Not much is known about the cause of Thornton’s death, nor can we confirm if the legendary athlete and beloved coach was vaccinated against Covid-19.

Sources say Thornton was being treated for a rare blood cancer; however, it is also unclear as to whether this contributed to his untimely passing.

U.C. Berkley’s Athletics Department announced on Friday: “We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of Cal Swimming great Richard Thornton. Our thoughts are with Richard’s family, friends, and all of those he impacted in the Cal community.”

The New York Post reported:

“He was following his buddy down the steps,” Marc Thornton added.

“His buddy jumped in the water, looked up for Richard, and Richard was just standing there at peace, not clutching his heart or anything, and he just kind of collapsed into the water.”

One individual explained: “Richard was being treated for a rare blood cancer but it’s not known if it contributed to his death.”

Daily Mail provided a short bio on Thornton:

Thornton also coached US national and junior national teams in Paris, Japan and Brazil, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

He was a graduate of UC Berkley with a bachelor’s degree, and his father Nort served as the school’s swim coach for more than three decades.


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