Olympic Skier Gus Kenworthy Mourns Sudden Death of Dog He Adopted in South Korea During 2018 Winter Games

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Gus Kenworthy
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Gus Kenworthy is mourning the loss of his beloved rescue dog, Beemo.

The Olympic skier took to Instagram on Sunday to share the heartbreaking news that Beemo -- whom he rescued just three months ago from a South Korean meat farm while in Pyeongchang for the 2018 Winter Games -- had died of an unknown birth defect.

"Two days ago my beautiful baby Beemo passed away," the athlete wrote of his pet, whom he shared with his boyfriend Matthew Wilkas. "It was completely unexpected and Matt and I are beside ourselves trying to cope with her loss." 

Kenworthy, 26, noted that Beemo "was showing less and less interest in her food," and following several trips to the veterinarian, they requested a full body scan.

"Beemo went into a panic attack during the x-rays and her breathing became rapid and shallow. The scan revealed that her lungs were deteriorated and that her heart was too big for her body -- a birth defect we had no way of knowing about," he revealed. "Unable to treat her there, I rushed her to the emergency vet where a breathing tube was put down her throat. They hoped that with a respirator breathing for her they could get her vitals back to a normal level so she could be treated but they were never able to do so."

The 2014 silver medalist described the days following Beemo's death as a "blur."

"It all happened so fast that it's still hard to believe it," he shared. "The ER doc told us that even if we'd somehow spotted the issue earlier it wouldn't have made a difference in the end. He said that she'd been living on 'borrowed time' from the get go." 

Describing Beemo as "truly the best thing that ever happened" to him, Kenworthy said he "never loved anything or anyone" in the way he love that dog.

"She is and will always be deeply missed," he continued. "She was so smart and playful. She brought so much happiness to so many people every single day."

He continued, adding that his dear pup had the power to stop people on the street and make them smile.

"She was the kindest, most gentle soul I've ever known," Kenworthy said. "She loved people. She loved birds and the snow. She loved me and Matt. But most of all she loved meeting other dogs. If any of you have pets up in doggy heaven please tell them to go find Bee because she could really use a good play date right now. RIP sweet creature - your daddy loves you more than you could ever even know!"

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Two days ago my beautiful baby Beemo passed away. It was completely unexpected and Matt and I are beside ourselves trying to cope with her loss. For a week or so we'd been worrying because she was showing less and less interest in her food. There were several trips to the vet and on our final visit this past Thursday I asked them do a full body scan in case there was an underlying issue they had missed. Beemo went into a panic attack during the x-rays and her breathing became rapid and shallow. The scan revealed that her lungs were deteriorated and that her heart was too big for her body - a birth defect we had no way of knowing about. Unable to treat her there, I rushed her to the emergency vet where a breathing tube was put down her throat. They hoped that with a respirator breathing for her they could get her vitals back to a normal level so she could be treated but they were never able to do so. The past two days have been a blur. It all happened so fast that it's still hard to believe it. The ER doc told us that even if we'd somehow spotted the issue earlier it wouldn't have made a difference in the end. He said that she'd been living on "borrowed time" from the get go. Beemo was truly the best thing that ever happened to me and I feel so fortunate for our borrowed time together. I've never loved anything or anyone in the way that I loved that dog and she is and will always be deeply missed. She was so smart and playful. She brought so much happiness to so many people every single day. I'll always remember being out on a walk with her and every other second she would get stopped by someone wanting to pet her, kneel down and kiss her, hold her in their arms or take a photo and on many occasions a crowd of people would have formed around her. That was her power: she made people smile. She was the kindest, most gentle soul I've ever known. She loved people. She loved birds and the snow. She loved me and Matt. But most of all she loved meeting other dogs. If any of you have pets up in doggy heaven please tell them to go find Bee because she could really use a good play date right now. RIP sweet creature - your daddy loves you more than you could ever even know!

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In February, the Olympic star shared the horrific conditions from which he rescued Beemo, describing the pups on the now-shut-down farm as "malnourished and physically abused, crammed into tiny wire-floored pens, and exposed to the freezing winter elements and scorching summer conditions."

Kenworthy continued at the time, "I adopted the sweet baby in the first pic (we named her Beemo) and she'll be coming to the US to live with me as soon as she's through with her vaccinations in a short couple of weeks. I cannot wait to give her the best life possible!"

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This morning Matt and I had a heart-wrenching visit to one of the 17,000 dog farms here in South Korea. Across the country there are 2.5 million dogs being raised for food in some of the most disturbing conditions imaginable. Yes, there is an argument to be made that eating dogs is a part of Korean culture. And, while don't personally agree with it, I do agree that it's not my place to impose western ideals on the people here. The way these animals are being treated, however, is completely inhumane and culture should never be a scapegoat for cruelty. I was told that the dogs on this particular farm were kept in "good conditions" by comparison to other farms. The dogs here are malnourished and physically abused, crammed into tiny wire-floored pens, and exposed to the freezing winter elements and scorching summer conditions. When it comes time to put one down it is done so in front of the other dogs by means of electrocution sometimes taking up to 20 agonizing minutes. Despite the beliefs of some, these dogs are no different from the ones we call pets back home. Some of them were even pets at one time and were stolen or found and sold into the dog meat trade. Luckily, this particular farm (thanks to the hard work of the Humane Society International and the cooperation of a farmer who's seen the error of his ways) is being permanently shut down and all 90 of the dogs here will be brought to the US and Canada where they'll find their fur-ever homes. I adopted the sweet baby in the first pic (we named her Beemo) and she'll be coming to the US to live with me as soon as she's through with her vaccinations in a short couple of weeks. I cannot wait to give her the best life possible! There are still millions of dogs here in need of help though (like the Great Pyrenees in the 2nd pic who was truly the sweetest dog ever). I'm hoping to use this visit as an opportunity to raise awareness to the inhumanity of the dog meat trade and the plight of dogs everywhere, including back home in the US where millions of dogs are in need of loving homes! Go to @hsiglobal's page to see how you can help. #dogsarefriendsnotfood #adoptdontshop ❤️🐶

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The talented athlete is no stranger to adopting pets during his Olympic travels -- he brought home two dogs from Sochi, Russia, following the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The dogs, named Jake and Mishka, now live with Kenworthy’s ex-boyfriend in Canada.

For more on Kenworthy, who joins Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon as one of the first openly gay men to represent the United States at the Winter Games, see below.

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