Bill Johnson, who won over legions of fans by backing up his braggadocio and becoming the first American to win the Olympic downhill title, has died after a long illness, the U.S. ski team said Friday from Kitzbuehel, Austria. He was 55.

He died Thursday at an assisted living facility in Gresham, Ore., where he had stayed since a major stroke in 2010.

Johnson won Olympic gold at the 1984 Sarajevo Games after telling everyone he was going to do so.

"Billy was a fighter and went about things his way," American ski great Phil Mahre said in a statement. "That toughness allowed him to reach heights in the skiing world that few will ever accomplish."

Johnson tried a comeback at age 40, hoping to win a spot for the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. But he wiped out during a practice run, suffering a traumatic brain injury that troubled him until his death. He suffered many strokes and loss of the use of limbs.


Dufner takes lead in PGA Tour event

Jason Dufner shot a 7-under 65 on PGA West's TPC Stadium Course to take the lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge in La Quinta, Calif.

Jamie Lovemark was a stroke back after a 65 on the adjacent Nicklaus Tournament Course.

Dufner had a 15-under 129 total.


Lynch 'leaning toward retirement'

Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch is "leaning toward retirement," General Manager John Schneider said.

Schneider, in two radio interviews, said the team was going to give Lynch time to decide what to do after an injury-filled 2015 season.

"I really, honestly don't know at this point," Schneider said. "If you put a gun to my head I would say he is leaning toward retirement. But I think with Marshawn you never really know."

49ers fire, hire coordinators

•The San Francisco 49ers fired defensive coordinator Eric Mangini, whose unit finished 29th in yards allowed, 31st in takeaways and 29th in sacks last season. The 49ers also made a move on offense, hiring a new offensive coordinator, Curtis Modkins, who was most recently running backs coach for Buffalo.

Ray Horton, who spent the past two seasons as Tennessee's defensive coordinator, will become defensive coordinator for Cleveland.

Todd Wash was promoted from defensive line coach to defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars.


Skiing: Aksel Lund Svindal won a World Cup men's super-G in Kitzbuehel, Austria, extending Norway's World Cup winning streak to five races.

College football: Keenan Reynolds, who starred at Navy as a quarterback, will play running back Saturday in the East-West Shrine Game.