Retired ski champion Bode Miller often uses social media to share adorable insights into his family life. However, in June 2018 he took to Instagram to share some news about his daughter Emeline. And what he had to say was truly heartbreaking.
Miller is the United States’ most decorated male skier. Over the course of his career, the sportsman bagged 33 World Cup wins and six Olympic medals – including gold – to name just a few of his achievements.
In 2014 at the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia, Miller became the oldest ever alpine skier to take home a medal. He was 36 years of age at the time. However, he decided not to hang up his skis at that point.
It wasn’t until October 2017, when Miller was 40, that he retired from ski racing. At the time, he told In Depth with Graham Bensinger, “I am done… I had a long career as a ski racer but I’m no longer craving for it.”
Retiring from competitive ski racing no doubt freed up plenty of time for Miller to spend with his family. Miller shares a daughter, Neesyn, and a son, Samuel, with his former partner Sara McKenna. In 2012 the skier married volleyball player Morgan Beck and the couple welcomed their son Nash into the world in 2015, followed by daughter Emeline in 2016.
Miller and Beck were clearly proud of their family, and the couple regularly shared images of their children on social media. Often these posts included scenes of everyday life, such as birthdays and family outings. However, in June 2018 Miller took to Instagram with a very different kind of update.
The post related to his youngest child Emeline, who was just 19 months old at the time. And the news he had to share was completely devastating. That’s because the toddler had passed away following a tragic drowning accident.
In his emotional post announcing his daughter’s death, grieving dad Miller wrote, “We are beyond devastated. Our baby girl, Emmy, passed away yesterday. Never in a million years did we think we would experience a pain like this.”
Paying tribute to his darling Emeline, Miller added, “Her love, her light, her spirit will never be forgotten. Our little girl loved life and lived it to its fullest every day. Our family respectfully requests privacy during this painful time.”
Later, authorities confirmed the little girl had drowned in a swimming pool. Emeline had been attending a party at a neighbor’s home in Orange County, California, with her mother when the incident occurred. After reportedly losing sight of her baby for just a few minutes, Beck later discovered Emeline’s body in the water.
After her mom pulled Emeline from the pool, it’s believed several people tried to resuscitate the young girl. However, their efforts were in vain. And when paramedics arrived on the scene, they too were unable to revive the infant.
Emergency services subsequently rushed Emeline to Mission Hospital in Orange County, where she was declared dead. Later, Carrie Brain, the Orange County sheriff’s spokesperson, stated that the incident would be investigated.
Needless to say, Miller’s announcement left many of his fans heartbroken, particularly considering that the blonde-haired, blue-eyed tot had become a regular fixture on their Instagram feeds. As a result, some decided to reach out to the family in their hour of need.
Below several adorable images of Emeline, one Instagram user wrote, “So very sorry for the loss of your precious baby girl. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. God be with you.” Another fan added, “Can’t even imagine the unbearable pain you must feel! So truly sorry for your losses. Hugs from Canada.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team offered its condolences in a tweet. “It is with the utmost sadness that we learned today of the passing of @MillerBode’s daughter Emmy,” read the message. “The thoughts and prayers of everyone at U.S. Ski & Snowboard and across the whole snowsports world are with Bode, his wife Morgan and their family at this time.”
While some offered words of support to the Millers, others donated to a crowdfunding campaign set up in Emeline’s honor. A “Meal Train” was also established, in order to allow the family to eat while maintaining their privacy during such a difficult time.
Following the outpouring of love from their fans, the Millers returned to social media to express their gratitude. Writing on Instagram, they stated, “We want to thank our friends, family and every one of you who sent a message, said a prayer or donated for the overwhelming expression of support – we are truly touched and blessed.”
Later on in the post, the Millers revealed that they would use the money donated – which already amounted to more than $26,000 – to promote water safety. “Our midwives started a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds, and we intend to donate these funds raised to worthwhile causes connected to water safety education,” they wrote.
The Millers added that supporting the good cause would mean that Emeline’s death was not in vain. They stated, “We are inspired to make our baby girl’s memory go forth and help prevent as many drownings as possible. We will post more soon on our plans and efforts.”
So, while nothing will bring their precious Emeline back, hopefully Miller and Beck will find some comfort in preventing other families from experiencing the same ordeal. For now, they are no doubt trying to heal and prepare for the next chapter in their lives, as they will welcome their third child into the world later this year.