Jeret "Speedy" Peterson, a spokesman for the Parma, Idaho-based Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee, died July 25.
Jeret "Speedy" Peterson, a spokesman for the Parma, Idaho-based Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee, died July 25.

Jeret “Speedy” Peterson, an Olympic silver medalist and spokesman for the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Committee, died July 25 in what police called a suicide, according to media reports. He was 29.

Peterson, who won his medal in freestyle aerial skiing at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, was hired early this year to promote Idaho and Eastern Oregon Spanish sweet onions.

“Our hearts go out to Jeret’s family, friends and fans,” Sherise Jones, marketing director of the Parma, Idaho-based committee, said in a statement. “In the short time we worked with Jeret, he became a close friend. Like everyone who knew him, we are in a state of shock.”

Jones said the committee will meet within the next few weeks to determine a different course of action for the marketing plan.

The campaign featured photographs of Peterson, a Boise, Idaho, native, doing his signature “hurricane” ski jump alongside the committee’s mascot. The committee also produced a YouTube video of Peterson chopping and cooking Spanish sweets.

As spokesman, Peterson talked about growing up in onion country, promoted the nutritional value of Spanish sweets and shared other information about the region and its growers.

Jones said the committee had been looking forward to a long working relationship with Peterson.

“As we worked with Jeret, we saw he had an infectious love of life,” she said. “The Jeret you saw on the Olympic stage receiving the silver medal is the same Jeret we were getting to know. He was authentic and had tremendous talent.”

In addition to his Olympic medal, Peterson won seven World Cup skiing events and three national titles.