On Monday, decorated Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton issued a statement for the first time since she was hospitalized with a rare form of pneumonia in early October.
Fifty-five-year-old Retton was released from the hospital last week after approximately two weeks of struggling with the illness. She posted on Instagram Monday morning, saying that she is “continuing to slowly recover” and thanked her supporters and well-wishers.
“I’m beyond blessed to have the opportunity to make this statement,” she wrote. “I am overwhelmed with the love and support from the world as I fight. I am forever grateful to you all! I’m with family continuing to slowly recover and staying very positive as I know this recovery is a long and slow process.
“I appreciate everyone’s respect of my privacy at this time,” she continued. “When the time is right, I will be sharing more information about my health issues and hope I can help others who may face the same battle as me. I love you all.”
Retton won the gold medal at the age of 16 in the individual all-around competition in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and a total of five medals at that year’s games. She was nicknamed “America’s Sweetheart” and became an icon in the U.S. Olympic movement, showing America’s prowess in a sport previously dominated by Romanian and Soviet Union athletes for decades.
Retton retired from gymnastics following the 1984 games but went on to have a number of appearances across pop culture, including a role in the 1994 movie “Naked Gun 33 ¹/₃: The Final Insult,” plus a spot in an episode of “Baywatch.”
It is still unknown what specific ailment Retton was suffering from, as her daughter McKenna revealed that she was “fighting for her life” with an unspecified, but rare, form of pneumonia.
Retton’s family set up a crowdfunding movement for her, as she was in the ICU and uninsured, which raised nearly $460,000 for her medical expenses.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.