Olympic Skier Gus Kenworthy Mourns Sudden Death of Dog He Adopted in South Korea During 2018 Winter Games
By Tina Smithers Peckham
Santiago Felipe/Getty Images Entertainment
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!"
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!"
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.