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    Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton ‘fighting for her life’ with rare form of pneumonia
    • October 11, 2023

    Brian Niemietz | New York Daily News

    Gold medal-winning gymnast Mary Lou Retton is in the ICU, where she’s fighting for her life, her daughter McKenna Kelley said on Tuesday.

    On a fundraising page asking for prayers and donations, Kelley revealed that the 55-year-old tumbler has been in the hospital for over a week with a “very rare form of pneumonia.”

    “She is not able to breathe on her own,” Kelley shared on Spotfund. “Out of respect for her and her privacy, I will not disclose all details. However, I will disclose that she not insured. … ANYTHING, absolutely anything, would be so helpful for my family and my mom. Thank y’all so very much!”

    Retton earned five medals and superstar status in 1984 with an unforgettable performance at the Olympic Summer Games in Los Angeles. Her fame resulted in multiple endorsement deals including one from Wheaties, which made her the first female athlete to appear on the cover of the cereal’s famous orange box. She can currently be seen in commercials for Colonial Penn Life Insurance.

    The West Virginia native also used her celebrity status to support the candidacy of former President Ronald Reagan and later appeared at the Republican National Convention in Madison Square Garden in 2004.

    Retton also appeared on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2018. She was the fifth person to be eliminated in the reality TV competition, but said participating on the show had “been the best time of [her] life.”

    By the start of Tuesday evening, the fundraising page promoted by Retton’s daughter, who’s also a former gymnast, had raised more than $12,000.

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