Published On: Wed, Oct 23rd, 2019

Marieke Vervoort dead: Paralympian ends life through euthanasia aged 40 | Other | Sport

Former Paralympic gold medallist Marieke Vervoort has ended her own life through euthanasia aged 40.

The wheelchair racer won gold and silver at London 2012, following up that achievement with silver and bronze medals four years later in Rio.

The Belgian suffered from an incurable degenerative muscle disease and, in 2008, signed papers to one day allow doctors to end her life.

Euthanasia is legal in Belgium and her passing was announced in a statement from her home city of Diest which said Vervoort “responded to her choice on Tuesday evening”.

A book of condolence will be accessible in the town hall from Wednesday morning.

The disease from which Vervoort suffered caused a lot of pain, seizures, paralysis in her legs and left her barely able to sleep.

Speaking about the disease to BBC Radio 5 live in 2016, she said: “It can be that I feel very, very bad I get an epileptic attack, I cry, I scream because of pain.

“I need a lot of painkillers, valium, morphine.

“A lot of people ask me how is it possible that you can have such good results and still be smiling with all the pain and medication that eats your muscles.

“For me, sports, and racing with a wheelchair – it’s a kind of medication.”

Following the Rio Paralympics, Vervoort spoke about her decision to sign euthanasia papers.

“It gives a feeling of rest to people. I know when it’s enough for me, I have those papers,” she said.

Ahead of her euthanasia, Vervoort partook in an event last month dubbed her ‘Last Wish’ in which she was raced around a racing track in a Lamborghini sports car.

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