This is a real shock. I met Susan Butcher a few years ago when I was working in Juneau, Alaska. She was super nice and the picture of good health. One of my favorite quotes from her is “I do not know the word ‘quit.’ Either I never did it, or I have abolished it.” Totally kick ass human being. The planet is slightly smaller without her.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Susan Butcher, four-time winner of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, has died in a Seattle hospital of complications from a recent bone marrow transplant, according to U.S. Senator Ted Steven’s office. She was 51.Butcher dominated the 1,100-mile sled dog race — the world’s longest — in the late 1980s. In 1986, she became the second woman to win the grueling 1,100 mile dog sled race from Anchorage to Nome.
She followed up the win with victories in 1987, 1988 and 1990 and finished in the top four through 1993. The race has no separate fields for men and women.
In 1979, Butcher helped drive the first sled-dog team to the 20,320-foot summit of Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America.
Butcher ran her last Iditarod in 1994 when she decided to have children. She has two daughters, Tekla and Chisana with her husband, attorney and musher David Monson.
Three years ago, when she was considering a comeback, doctors found Butcher had polycythemia vera, a rare disease that causes the bone marrow to produce excess blood.
She had been undergoing treatment at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance at University of Washington Medical Center.