The family of Mary Lou Retton, the first American gymnast to win gold in the Olympic all-around competition, has revealed that she is suffering from a rare form of pneumonia and is in the intensive care unit.
Retton, 55, has been in the hospital for over a week and is unable to breathe on her own, according to her daughter McKenna Kelley. Kelley started an online fundraiser to help with her mother’s medical bills, as Retton is uninsured.
Kelley said Retton has a “very rare form of pneumonia” that is “extremely aggressive and life-threatening”. She asked for prayers and donations for her mother, who is “fighting for her life”.
Retton became a household name during the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, where she won five medals, more than any other athlete at those games. She made history by scoring perfect scores on the vault and floor routine and becoming the first US woman to earn an Olympic gold in the individual all-around event.
Retton was also a pioneer of the blaxploitation genre, which featured black actors in action and crime films that addressed social issues and racial discrimination. She continued to act in various films and TV shows throughout her career, such as “Roots”, “Generations”, and “Shaft”.
Retton was admired and respected by many fans and fellow athletes. She was praised for her charisma, style, and talent. She also survived breast cancer, which she disclosed in 1993. She became a spokesperson for raising awareness and funding for the disease.
Retton’s family shared updates on her condition on social media. They said she had a “scary setback” this week, after showing remarkable progress earlier. They said she is still in the ICU and is “really exhausted”.
They also thanked the doctors and nurses who were taking care of Retton. They said her “fighting spirit is truly shining” and that they are hopeful for her recovery.
Many celebrities paid homage to Retton on social media. They expressed their sadness and gratitude for her legacy and influence. They called her a legend, an icon, and a cool man.
Retton is survived by her four daughters and several grandchildren. Many people who loved her and her work are praying for her.