GRAND JUNCTION - Caleb Moore, an innovative freestyle snowmobile rider who was hurt in a crash at the Winter X Games in Aspen, died Thursday morning. He was 25.
Moore was being treated at a hospital in Grand Junction since the Jan. 24 crash. Family spokeswoman Chelsea Lawson confirmed his death, the first in the 18-year history of the X Games.
"He lived his life to the fullest. He was an inspiration," Lawson said.
In a prepared statement, event organizer ESPN said, "We are deeply saddened by Caleb Moore's passing, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his parents, Wade and Michelle, his brother, Colten, and the entire Moore family. He will be remembered for his natural passion for life and his deep love for his family and friends, and he will always be an inspiration to everyone he touched in the action-sports community."
Aspen Skiing Co., which operates the Buttermilk venue that hosts the X Games, offered a statement as well: "All of us at Aspen Skiing Co. are deeply saddened by Caleb Moore's death. Caleb was an inspirational athlete and a shining light in the community of action sports. He will be sorely missed. Our sincerest condolences, our thoughts and our prayers go out to the entire Moore family - his parents, Wade and Michelle, and brother Colten."
A former all-terrain-vehicle racer, Moore switched over to snowmobiles as a teenager and quickly rose to the top of the sport. He won four Winter X Games medals, including a bronze last season when his younger brother, Colten, captured gold.
Caleb Moore was attempting a backflip in the freestyle event in Aspen when the skis on his 450-pound snowmobile caught the lip of the landing area, sending him flying over the handlebars. Moore landed face first into the snow, and his snowmobile rolled over him.
Moore stayed down for quite some time before walking off with help and going to Aspen Valley Hospital to treat a concussion. Moore developed bleeding around his heart and was flown to St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction for surgery. The family later said that Moore, of Krum, Texas, also had a complication involving his brain.
Colten Moore was injured in a separate crash that same night. He suffered a separated pelvis in the spill.
Family members said in a statement that they were grateful for all the prayers and support they have received from people around the world.
X Games officials expressed their condolences and said Caleb Moore, a four-time X Games medalist, would be remembered "for his natural passion for life and his deep love for his family and friends."
B.C. Vaught, Caleb Moore's agent for almost a decade, said he first saw Moore when he was racing an ATV in Minnesota and signed him up to star in some action-sports movies.
Later, Moore wanted to make the switch from ATVs to snowmobiles, and Vaught helped him. A natural talent, it only took Moore two weeks to master a difficult backflip.
Moore's brother also got involved in snowmobiling, the close-knit duo pushing each other to become better.
Caleb Moore honed his skills in Krum, a town of about 5,000 people 50 miles northwest of Dallas that rarely sees snow. Instead, he worked on tricks by launching his sled into a foam pit. After a brief training run on snow ramps in Michigan, he was ready for his sport's biggest stage - the 2010 Winter X Games.
In that contest, Moore captured a bronze in freestyle and finished sixth in best trick. Two years later, his biography on ESPN said, "Caleb Moore has gone from 'beginner's luck' to 'serious threat.'"
That was hardly a surprise to Vaught, who said, "Whatever he wanted to do, he did it."
Vaught said Moore didn't believe his sport was too extreme, but rather "it was a lifestyle." He was good at it - along with ATV racing - as he accumulated a garage full of trophies.
Fellow snowmobile rider Levi LaVallee recently described Moore as a "fierce competitor."
"A very creative mind," LaVallee said. "I've watched him try some crazy, crazy tricks, and some of them were successful, some of them not so much. But he was the first guy to get back on a sled and go try it again. It shows a lot of heart."