Harding Offers Kerrigan "Sympathy" for Father's Death

Ironic twist to tragic death of Kerrigan's father and arrest of brother

By Dana Kitchens
|  Friday, Feb 24, 2012  |  Updated 11:14 AM PDT
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Tonya Harding, left, the one time nemesis of Nancy Kerrigan, offers her condolences over the death of Kerrigan's father.

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Olympic villain Tonya Harding offered her "deepest sympathy" to Nancy Kerrigan, the woman whose career she forever altered, after the figure skater's father died on Sunday.

Harding's rep told "The Insider" that "Tonya feels very sad for Nancy and her family and extends her deepest sympathy and condolences to them."

The spokesperson said "Tonya's beloved dad, Al Harding, passed away this past April, so she understands the grief Nancy and her family are feeling at this difficult time."

Nancy Kerrigan, who has not spoken publicly since her brother was arrested and charged with assault in connection with the death of Daniel Kerrigan, 70, did not react to her former nemesis' words of support.

The Boston Globe reported that Nancy Sterling, a Kerrigan family spokeswoman, said "the family’s focus is on mourning Dan and honoring his life and many contributions. At this time we ask that their privacy be respected."

Harding's sympathy was unexpected; the former ice skater turned self-promoting internet celebrity pleaded guilty to obstructing prosecutors in 1994 after her then-husband and his friend clubbed Kerrigan in the knee with a metal baton before the 1994 US Figure Skating Championships in Detroit.

Figure skating Olympians Sasha Cohen and Kristi Yamaguchi also offered their sympathy. “We’ve shared a lot of great times together. She’s been through so much,” Yamaguchi said on NBC "Today" show this morning. "She definitely appreciates the support she’s been getting."

According to the Associated PressMark Kerrigan was sent to Massachusetts' Bridgewater State Hospital for a mental evaluation after being charged with assault and battery. His defense attorney, Denise Moore, said in court that Kerrigan's psychiatrist is treating him for post-traumatic stress syndrome, which he has suffered from since serving in the army, but that he "is extremely distraught over the death of his father and denies any responsibility."

Police reports on the incident indicated that Mark Kerrigan was intoxicated and unruly when police arrested him after the alleged assault.

His mother, Brenda Kerrigan, told the Boston Herald that her husband "had a heart attack. That’s what it was.” An autopsy is being conducted and funeral services will take place this Thursday.

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