“At the end of a serious illness, Elena Fanchini passed away in her home in Solato (near Brescia),” the FISI said in a short statement.
FISI confirmed to AFP that Fanchini, a World Championship downhill silver medallist in 2005, had died from an unspecified cancer which she had been battling since 2018.
Fanchini made four World Cup podiums, all in downhill, including two victories in Lake Louise, Canada in December 2005 and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy in 2015.
But she was plagued by injuries throughout her career, above all with her knees which she said were like “glass”.
Fanchini missed the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang due to her illness, and suffered serious injury on her return later that year following an operation on the tumour.
She fell in training for the super-G in Copper Mountain, Colorado and suffered a broken finger, fractured fibula and severe left knee bruising, never skiing again before retiring in 2020.
Shiffrin said Fanchini “will never be forgotten”.
“This was a day filled with emotions. There is so much I’d like to share… but what weighs the heaviest is the loss of @ElenaFanchini,” tweeted Shiffrin on the day she won silver in the super-G at the world championships in Meribel.
“I’m sending my condolences to the whole Fanchini family, who have had such a strong impact on our sport and world with their passion and kindness.
“My heart is also with the Italian team, who are hurting very deeply now. Their love and strength is pure and true, and I am cheering for their entire team, now more than ever.”
Last month Italian skiing star Sofia Goggia, also a downhill specialist, dedicated her win at Cortina to Fanchini, who was “going through a difficult time”.
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