Ian Thorpe

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Ian Thorpe, the Australian swimmer often known as "The Thorpedo," is battling a serious infection following a recent shoulder surgery.

The 31-year-old athlete's agent James Erskine said he did not think the nine-time Olympic medalist would be swimming competitively again, per NBC Sports.

Australian media outlets speculated that Thorpe, who is being cared for in a Sydney hospital, could lose use of his left arm entirely, but his agent downplayed those reports as "purely speculation."

"It's serious, but it's not life-threatening," he added, noting that while the athlete was being treated with large doses of antibiotics, he was not in intensive care.

Thorpe medaled in both the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, then came out of a four-year retirement in 2011 but failed in a bid to make the 2012 Australian Olympic Team. Although he has not officially retired since then, he has spoken publicly about his recent struggles with alcohol and depression and attended rehab earlier this year.

Jim Wilson, chief sports corresponded for Australian broadcaster Channel Seven, told BBC World Service: "It's been a tough 12 months for Ian. He's been suffering from depression and gone through his own battle with the demons. Let's hope he can get himself right-he's an icon of Australian sport and a worldwide superstar."

"I don't think he'll swim again," added Wilson. "The tell-tale signs are his left shoulder and left arm give him a lot of trouble. Forget about swimming again, it's whether he can use his left arm for the rest of his life. Right at this point in time there have been some fairly bad complications."

As of now, Thorpe's agent maintains he's in "good health." Our thoughts and prayers are with him during this time.

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