Image: Nancy Kerrigan, Brenda Kerrigan
Elise Amendola  /  AP
Former Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan mourns with her mother, Brenda, outside St. Patrick Church in Stoneham, Mass., on Thursday.
updated 1/28/2010 12:10:51 PM ET 2010-01-28T17:10:51

The funeral for figure skater Nancy Kerrigan's father is under way in Massachusetts.

The former Olympian buried her face in a relative's back and appeared to weep as the flag-draped casket was carried into St. Patrick's Church in Stoneham Thursday.

Family remembered 70-year-old Daniel Kerrigan as a dedicated father and grandfather with a great sense of humor.

He died Sunday after what authorities say was a violent struggle with his son, Mark Kerrigan. Family members say he died of an unrelated heart attack.

The 45-year-old Mark Kerrigan has pleaded not guilty to assault. Authorities are awaiting tests on the cause of his father's death.

'Behind me always'
Nancy Kerrigan said in statement that her dad was "my support ... behind me always," and remembered how he had taken her to the rink at 5 a.m. every morning to train.

Her brother was sent for a psychological evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital after being charged.

At his arraignment on Monday, he repeatedly rubbed the knuckles of his handcuffed hands and at one point put his head in his hands and wept.

Family members said the death of Daniel Kerrigan, who rushed to the sobbing Nancy and carried her into a locker room after the 1994 attack on her, was unrelated to the argument with his son early Sunday.

Daniel Kerrigan's wife, Brenda Kerrigan, told the Boston Herald newspaper that there was nothing suspicious about the death.

Mark Kerrigan, who has a history of domestic violence arrests and was sued by his parents to recover money they spent for taking care of his home while he was in jail, was being held on $10,000 bail.

He was released from jail in 2007, according to his lawyer, but it wasn't immediately clear why he was serving time or for how long he served.

'Intensity of competition'
The death of Daniel Kerrigan comes as the national spotlight again turns to one of the most popular sports in the upcoming Olympic Games, just weeks away.

The intensity of competition among skaters was never more apparent than in 1994, when an assailant clubbed Nancy Kerrigan on her right knee during practice at the U.S. Championships.

An investigation later revealed rival Tonya Harding had knowledge of the planning of the attack, and U.S. Figure Skating banned her for life.

Daniel Kerrigan, a welder, and his wife nurtured the love of skating in their daughter, who was a self-described tomboy with two hockey-playing big brothers. He drove a Zamboni ice-cleaning machine at the local rink in exchange for practice ice time, and he and his wife took out a second mortgage on their home to help pay for Nancy's skating lessons.

He was found on the floor of his home, unconscious, by officers responding to an emergency call at 1:30 a.m. Sunday. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.

Police said Mark Kerrigan appeared intoxicated when he was found on a couch in the basement of the home and was "belligerent and combative" but coherent when questioned.

"He stated that he wanted to use the phone and his father would not let him," the arresting officer wrote in a report. "He said he struggled with his father and put his hands around his father's neck and his father fell to the floor."

The officers said they saw blood near where Daniel Kerrigan had been treated by emergency workers and signs of a struggle, including three pictures that had apparently been knocked off a wall and a broken piece of the telephone.

Defense attorney Denise Moore said Mark Kerrigan was "extremely distraught over the death of his father".

Nancy Kerrigan, who took the bronze medal at the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France, silver at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, and gold at the 1993 U.S. Championships, married her manager, Jerry Solomon, in 1995. They live in Lynnfield and have three children together.

The Associated Press

Video: Filled with envy?

  1. Closed captioning of: Filled with envy?

    >> al, thank you.

    >>> funeral services are being held today for the father of u.s. figure skater nancy kerrigan . the 70-year-old died on sunday after what police describe as a violent struggle with his son, mark. and this morning, we are learning more about his troubled past. nbc's jeff rossen is outside the funeral home in stoneham, massachusetts, for us this morning. jeff, good morning to you.

    >> reporter: hi, meredith. good morning to you. solemn day. of course, this will be a private mass here for the family itself. then the public funeral to happen a little later on at a church just down the street near the family's home. of course, nancy kerrigan herself will be here, but as we've been reporting, her brother, mark kerrigan , will not. he remains in police custody . and this morning his ex-wife is speaking out for the very first time about mark's violent past and his jealousy over his sister nancy . the umbrellas went up wednesday, shielding nancy kerrigan and her family as they rushed into this funeral home . inside, an emotional good-bye to her father, dan kerrigan . hundreds of mourners lined an entire block to attend his wake. how is nancy holding up right now?

    >> she's holding up as well as can be expected under the circumstances. it's a tragic loss for her and the entire family.

    >> reporter: nancy 's brother, mark kerrigan , is now charged with assault in connection with her father's death, accused of choking him during a fight. the judge set bail at $10,000 cash, but the kerrigans haven't bailed him out. and now the state won't let him out to attend the funeral today. what does that tell you about the status of this case and where prosecutors are going?

    >> it's not good news for mark kerrigan . prosecutors clearly think this is more than just an accident, and you know, i wouldn't be surprised to see homicide charges on the horizon.

    >> reporter: now, mark kerrigan 's ex-wife is painting a new picture of mark's troubled relationship with his family. she says mark kerrigan felt he was always living in the shadow of his sister, nancy .

    >> any brother or sister would be jealous, not just necessarily mark, but yeah, he was. he had a lot of jealousy in him. and to me, he always seemed like he wanted to prove something to his father.

    >> reporter: she says it always bothered mark that his parents would never even come over to visit.

    >> he used to tell me it was hard living his life. you know, always having to prove things, always trying to be better.

    >> reporter: janet kerrigan says mark would often drink and get violent. according to court papers, she called the police on him and even filed a restraining order.

    >> he threw me in the bedroom and he choked me. i literally closed my eyes and just looked up and said to myself, i love you guys, meaning my kids, because i thought i was going to die. i did.

    >> reporter: despite mark's problems, family friends say dan kerrigan loved his son, and in the end was there to help.

    >> and danny did everything to help his son, and now look what happened to danny.

    >> reporter: nancy kerrigan had such a tough and painful road ahead, burying her father today, taking care of her mother, who is legally blind , here in massachusetts, lives just around the block. and of course, the big question for this family, meredith, what's next for mark?

    >> jeff, thank you very much.

    >>> and just ahead, a report john edwards ' wife met with the child he fathered with a mistress.

    >>> still ahead, simple steps to live longer.

    >> plus the duggars on their 19th baby.

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