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The 91-year-old mother of Billie Jean King dies on same day as Olympic opening ceremonies

Betty Moffitt's declining health forced her lesbian icon daughter to drop out of official US delegation in Sochi
Photo: The Colbert Report

Instead of being at today's opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, tennis legend Billie Jean King was at the side of her 91-year-old mother when Betty Moffitt died.

King, 70, announced earlier this week that she would not be able to fulfill her role as an official US delegate at Sochi because of her mother's declining health.

Both King and her younger brother, retired Major League Baseball pitcher Randy Moffitt, traveled to Arizona to be with their surviving parent. Their father, Bill Moffitt, died in 2006.

King's appointment to the US delegation by President Barack Obama had been widely-publicized and the tennis legend appeared on numerous TV interviews to talk about it.

As one of the most famous lesbian athletes in history and a life-long activist for equality, King's participation was to be seen as a very public statement against Russia's anti-gay propaganda law.

Betty Moffitt had appeared in several documentaries in the past decade talking about her daughter and gave insight into her early years when at the age of 12 she had a vision for who she wanted to become - and did.

She and her late husband of 65 years were also by their daughter's side in 1981 when she held an emotional press conference to confirm that she had been involved in a lesbian affair while married to a man.

Good Morning America host Robin Roberts was among those who took to Twitter to offer condolences: My thoughts are w/ & her family. Very sorry to hear of the passing of your beloved mother. I know you brought her much joy.

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