Nancy Kerrigan just released a poignant message thanking her friends and fans for their support in the aftermath of the death of her father, Daniel Kerrigan. "The last several weeks have been the most difficult of my life," Kerrigan said in the statement released through email. "As many of you who ever met my dad know, he was someone who took an interest in everyone that he came in contact with and, if he knew you much at all, had an endearing wisecrack that would be sure to make you laugh."
Daniel Kerrigan, 70, died Jan. 24 after a reported physical altercation with his son, Mark Kerrigan, 45. The Massachusetts state medical examiner has ruled the death a homicide. Daniel Kerrigan suffered a fatal heart attack and died several hours after the incident. His voice box was crushed, according to the report.
Mark Kerrigan has been charged with assault and battery on an elder. He is being held without bail at Bridgewater State Hospital, where he is undergoing a psychological evaluation, pending a Feb. 24 pretrial hearing in Woburn District Court.
The Kerrigan family is standing behind Mark Kerrigan, a point Nancy Kerrigan made clear in her statement. “On behalf of Jerry (Solomon, her husband), my mother and our entire family, it has been a sad moment for us all,” the two-time Olympic medalist noted. “And it isn’t over yet, particularly with the ruling this week about the cause of my dad’s death; a ruling by the way which we think was unjustified and which we plan to help my brother fight.
"Our deepest thanks go out to all of you for helping us get through this and for showing your love, friendship and support. We will never, ever forget it.”
In the statement, Nancy Kerrigan described her father as her safety net. “He was always there for me no matter what turn the world might take," she said. "He was a friend to Jerry and a doting grandpa to our kids.
"For my mother, he was much more than that. He was her eyes, her confidante, her dance partner, her life partner. In short, he was her everything.
"For my brothers, he was the ultimate role model: the guy they continue to try to emulate.
“And his impact spread far beyond our family. Over 2,000 people lined up in 20 degree weather and stood for over three hours to pay their last respects. From the pizza delivery guy to the bank teller to millionaire business people to congressmen, he was a friend to everyone and had a special place in each one’s life. The stories we heard about my dad, from childhood friends to recent acquaintances were funny and touching. Most of all, they make us proud.
“We will miss my dad every day, whether it is hearing him tell the kids one of his silly stories or watching him roll his eyes as he went to the market for the fourth time that afternoon or having a beer with him at the end of the day. Mainly, we will miss just knowing he is there, in good times and bad, to be the ‘go to’ guy in so many situations.
“But we all have to keep going, and we will. I know that is exactly what my dad would have wanted us to do.”
The skating star noted that her mother Brenda, who is legally blind, has been a tower of strength. “The extended family, and it is a large one, has pledged its support to her,” Nancy Kerrigan said. “For our family, we move forward knowing we are all better for having known my dad, and will try to hear his voice, gravelly as it was, in all that we do.
“Moreover, we look to the future knowing that we have a reservoir of friends that is overwhelming in its interest, support and love. The outpouring of sentiment that we received, be it by email, regular mail, phone calls, text, flowers and visits, has been beyond anything that we could have ever imagined. And that alone inspires us to go on and do great things that will honor my dad, all of those who were there for him and all of you who have sent your heartfelt condolences. Sometimes it takes losses to enable you to see how much good there is in the world. This was certainly one of those times and the goodness came pouring out.
“So, I am preparing to leave for Vancouver to work for ‘Entertainment Tonight' and ‘Insider’ at the Olympics as I did in Torino in 2006. Jerry is getting ready for his annual ‘Showdown’ at Madison Square Garden. Clay is practicing for the upcoming golf season. Matthew is rehearsing for a trip to Washington, DC with his singing group. Brian will start tee ball in April and Nicole will turn 2 in May.
“We will do it all with the knowledge that my dad would want us to go forward with strength and a smile, that he is with us every step of the way, that our family is stronger for having had him in our life and that we have so many good friends who care and who are there for us when the chips are down.”
Kerrigan’s role on “Entertainment Tonight” and “The Insider” will be limited to commentating on the Winter Olympics and related stories. “This is similar to her role for the same program at the 2006 Winter Olympics,” said family spokesperson Nancy Sterling. “She will not be interviewed about her family matters.”