The 55-year-old’s family broke the troubling news late last night, insisting that Retton “is not able to breathe on her own.”
The gymnast is widely considered one of the most iconic US athletes to have ever competed in Olympic gymnastics, having taken gold in the individual all-around competition at the 1984 games in Los Angeles.
Retton’s success marked the first time in history that an American woman had earned the all-around gold medal, and indeed any individual medal in gymnastics.
Unsurprisingly, Retton rose to national prominence through her feats, going on to appear in several films and TV shows throughout the 1980s and ’90s. She was also recognized as Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated in 1984.
Now, however, her fans have been dealt a blow after the former star’s daughter, McKenna Kelley, revealed her mother is in ICU battling a rare form of pneumonia.
McKenna’s post on Spotfund reads: “Hey everyone! On behalf of my sisters and I, we need y’all’s help.
“My amazing mom, Mary Lou, has a very rare form of pneumonia and is fighting for her life. She is not able to breathe on her own.
“She’s been in the ICU for over a week now. Out of respect for her and her privacy, I will not disclose all details. However, I will disclose that she is not insured.
“We ask that if you could help in any way, that 1) you PRAY! and 2) if you could help us with finances for the hospital bill.
“ANYTHING, absolutely anything, would be so helpful for my family and my mom. Thank y’all so very much!”
Following her retirement from gymnastics, Retton became a motivational speaker. She also served on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under former President George W. Bush.