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Brother of former Olympian dies on ski hill

Brother of former Olympian dies on ski hillCanada's Edi Podivinsky attacks the course during the men's Super G in Snowbasin, Utah Saturday, Feb. 16, 2002 at the Salt Lake City Olympics. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Susan Walsh

The brother of Canadian Olympic skier Edi Podivinsky has been killed in a ski accident in Montana.

Thomas Podivinsky's father, Edward Podivinsky, confirmed that his son died Sunday while on holiday with family and friends in the resort community of Whitefish.

The local sheriff's office said the 48-year-old oil executive from Calgary fell into hole at the base of a tree, called a tree well. Ski patrollers found his body but were unable to revive him.

He is the second man to die in a tree well in Whitefish this year.

"This is tragedy which nobody could have foreseen or expected," the father said Monday from his home in Canmore, Alta.

"Skiing was his passion. It was his sport."

The elder Podivinsky, a retired civil engineer, said his two boys learned how to ski while growing up in Edmonton. They were members of the local Snow Valley Ski Club.

"Tom was older. He was always a few steps ahead," recalled his father. "Edi was always trying to catch up with his big brother and became champion eventually."

Tom made the provincial ski team while his younger brother became a member of the national team and stayed on it for 13 years.

Edi won a World Cup in 1994, the same year he captured the bronze medal in the downhill at the Olympics in Lillehammer. It was the last time a Canadian won an alpine medal in the Olympics until last weekend, when Jan Hudec captured a bronze in the super G event in Sochi.

Edi, 43, now works as a stockbroker for RBC and lives outside Toronto, said his father. He was to fly to Calgary late Monday.

His father said he expects it will take several days for officials to transport his oldest son's body home from Montana.

Tom was married with two children, aged 13 and eight. He worked as the chief geophysicist for Athabasca Oil.

"Tom was a thorough professional and was always upbeat and eager to share his knowledge with others," said an e-mailed statement from the company. "He will be sorely missed by his friends and colleagues."

— With files from The Associated Press.

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