BRITISH COLUMBIA

Deborah Furlong Dead: Car Crash Claims Wife Of John Furlong

04/12/2013 12:22 EDT | Updated 04/12/2013 12:22 EDT
CP

The wife of former Vancouver 2010 Olympics organizing chief John Furlong has been killed in a car crash in Ireland, Global News reported.

Furlong released a statement about his wife's death on Friday.

Statement from John Furlong:

It is with a broken heart that I must tell you of the death of my beloved wife Deborah Sharp Furlong as a result of an automobile accident while driving alone while on vacation in the southeast of Ireland on April 11, 2013.

While our extended families are beyond words over this loss, we would like to thank our friends and well-wishers for their heartfelt concern and condolences as our families face this sudden and painful tragedy.

While I understand that there may be interest in more details, please understand that at this extremely difficult time, I request privacy for our families. Thank you.

Sincerely,

John Furlong

More from the Canadian Press:

The wife of former Vancouver Olympic CEO John Furlong has been killed in a car accident in Ireland.

In a statement, Furlong confirmed his wife died Thursday.

"It is with a broken heart that I must tell you of the death of my beloved wife Deborah Sharp Furlong as a result of an automobile accident while driving alone on vacation in the southeast of Ireland on April 11, 2013.''

Furlong said their extended families are ``beyond words'' over the loss and he thanked his friends and well-wishers for their heartfelt concern as the family faces this sudden and painful tragedy.

Police in Ireland say the 48-year-old was seriously injured when the car she was driving collided head-on with a 4x4 vehicle near Gorey, Ireland.

She was taken by air ambulance to hospital where she was pronounced dead.

"Forensic collision investigators examined the scene and the road has since re-opened to traffic,'' said the release from the Irish police press office.

Police, or Garda, say the crash happened at Coollishall Upper, Gorey, county Wexford.

The driver of the second vehicle, a man in his forties, was only slightly hurt.

Deborah Sharp Furlong was an associate producer working on the CBC series Arctic Air. She had been married to Furlong for about a year.

John Furlong worked for a decade leading up to a successful end to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

But last September allegations surfaced alleging Furlong physically abused aboriginal students when he was a teacher at two northern B.C. schools decades before.

In January, further allegations surfaced alleging domestic and sexual abuse against Furlong.

Many members of Furlong's family, including his ex-wife Gail, his children and 11 grandchildren issued a statement condemning the allegations.

"The public should be deeply concerned at the power of a single journalist whose words can smash into a family like a wrecking ball,'' the family statement said.

Furlong launched a lawsuit against Georgia Straight publisher Daniel McLeod, editor Charlie Smith and freelance reporter Laura Robinson over the story published Sept. 27, 2012.

His lawsuit claimed the reporter behind the article accusing him of abuse over 40 years ago was on a malicious campaign to discredit him.

The weekly newspaper published a story Sept. 27 that quoted eight former students who alleged Furlong was physically and verbally abusive while he was a volunteer teacher in northern B.C. in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Most of the allegations involve Furlong's time as a volunteer teacher at Immaculata Catholic School in Burns Lake. Immaculata was a religious school run by the Oblates, a missionary order, but it was not an Indian residential school. Students, including non-natives, attended by day.

Furlong said previously he never hid or purposely omitted speaking about his time teaching in Burns Lake or Prince George. He said it didn't appear in his biography because it wasn't related to the Olympics and because it was brief and uneventful.