10 Figure Skaters Who Died of AIDS

Man skating and training with black skates
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During the 1980s and 1990s, several elite figure skaters died of ​AIDS-related complications. 

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1976 Olympic Figure Skating Champion John Curry

John Curry - 1976 Olympic Figure Skating Champion
Photo by Tony Duffy - Getty Images

British figure skating champion John Curry won the gold medal at the Olympics in men's figure skating in 1976. He was known for using much ballet and dance in his skating

In 1987 the Olympic figure skating champion announced that he was HIV-positive, and four years later, in 1991 the disease became full-blown AIDS.

Curry died on April 15, 1994. His death may have been the first publicized AIDS-related death related to figure skating.

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Ricky Inglesi

Ricky Inglesi was a roller skater before he became an ice skater.  He did both single skating and pair skating and stared in Holiday on Ice.  He lived and coached in the San Francisco area.

Inglesi was considered one of the nicest people in figure skating.  He coached US men's champion Rudy Galindo after Jim Hulick, who coached Galindo and his pair skating partner Kristi Yamaguchi. 

Inglesi died of complications related to AIDS in 1994.  

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Robert Wagenhoffer

Robert Wagenhoffer
Photo by Barry Mittan

Robert Wagenhoffer competed nationally and internationally in both singles skating and in pair skating.  He won both a silver and bronze medal at the US Figure Skating Championships and also won a silver medal in pairs at the US Nationals.  He went on to star in Ice Capades.   

Wagenhoffer died when he was 39 years old on December 13, 1999, of AIDS-related complications.  

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Brian Pockar

Brian Pockar
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Brian Pockar was a three-time Canadian figure skating champion and won the bronze medal at the 1982 World Figure Skating Championships.  He represented Canada at the 1980 Olympic Winter Games which took place in Lake Placid, New York, USA.  In 1985, he became the World Professional Figure Skating Champion.  

Pockar died in 1992 at age 32 in his hometown of Calgary.

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Ondrej Nepela - 1972 Olympic Figure Skating Champion

Ondrej Nepela
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Ondrej Nepela was considered a figure skating prodigy.  He was only 13 years old when he competed in his first Winter Olympics in 1964.  Eight years later, Nepela became an Olympic champion.   

In 1989, Nepela died of complications related to AIDS at age 38.

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Brian Wright

Brian Wright was considered one of the world's best figure skating choreographers and did the choreography for three-time U.S, men's figure skating champion and two-time Olympian, Michael Weiss. 

Wright died on July 29, 2003, of AIDS-related causes, at age 43.

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Rob McCall

Tracy Wilson and Robert McCall - 1988 Olympic Ice Dance Bronze Medalists
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Tracy Wilson and Robert McCall won the bronze medal in ice dancing at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

McCall found out he had AIDS in 1980, but kept his condition quiet for many years. He died on November 15, 1991, when he was only 33 years old.  

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Barry Hagan

Kim Krohn and Barry Hagan won bronze in ice dancing at the US Figure Skating Championships in 1981. 

Hagan died of AIDS in 1993. He was 36 years old. 

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Billy Lawe

Billy Lawe won the 1984 US Junior Men's title.  He was Robert Wagenhoffer's life partner.  He and Wagenhoffer marketed a calendar that helped benefit AIDS causes and organizations.  He died in 1995  at age 33. 

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Jim Hulick

Jim Hulick was the coach of US pair skating champions Kristi Yamaguchi and Rudy Galindo.  He died when he was 38 years old in December of 1989.