'Rest in peace, your work is done': Athletics world reacts to paralympian Marieke Vervoort's death by euthanasia
Tributes are pouring in following the death of Belgian paralympian Marieke Vervoort, who chose to end her own life through euthanasia at the age of 40 after battling an incurable degenerative disease.
The death of Vervoort, who won gold and silver medals at the London Paralympics in 2012 as well as two further medals in Rio de Janeiro three years ago, was confirmed via a statement from the Belgian city of Diest.Also on rt.com Tragic Patrick Day’s death demonstrates the deadly lure of boxing cannot be curtailed
The disease, she told the media in Rio at the time, forced her to live through constant pain which would restrict her to just 10 minutes' sleep some night.
"It's too hard for my body," she said in 2016. "Each training I’m suffering because of pain. Every race I train hard. Training and riding and doing competition are medicine for me. I push so hard – to push literally all my fear and everything away."
It is with deep sadness that we have learned the passing of Marieke Vervoort, Paralympic champion, quadruple Paralympic medalist and forever member of Paralympic Team Belgium.Our thoughts are with her family and friends. https://t.co/tjPNMFOKUa NL - https://t.co/Q07OKaRrya FR— Paralympic Team Belgium (@BEParalympics) October 22, 2019
Tonight our hero and friend Marieke Vervoort will run like the wind through the stars. Our warrior never to be forgotten in our hearts and minds. Good night, sleep well and thank you for the memories. Rest in peace Marieke Vervoort your work is done. pic.twitter.com/k7BXZwNmHd— Lanzarote Open Water (@lanzaopenwater) October 22, 2019
We're all spending our lives going up hill, over bumps, over cracks in search of just a few minutes of the smooth.Occasionally it's all OK and you can let go and just roll hands free, then you might smile and take it all in, make it look easy.Roll safely. Marieke Vervoort💔 pic.twitter.com/aepV8pR5Cb— Simon Andrew (@SimonAndrewx) October 23, 2019
RIP Marieke Vervoort. #mariekevervoort A true champion.— Shelley Silas (@shelleysilas) October 23, 2019
Vervoort's beloved dog, Zenn, was with her until the end. She said of her: 'When I lose consciousness, she barks and the nurses come, and she stays licking my face until I come back around. I could not even imagine giving her away.' pic.twitter.com/2hQ3Ftv9rL— Oliver Brown (@oliverbrown_tel) October 23, 2019
This is how I will remember Marieke Vervoort, living every little moment. You can hear again our documentary from 2016, about her decision to sign euthanasia papers, on @bbc5live after midnight. Cheers, Marieke. We’ll never forget you 🥂 pic.twitter.com/MjMkTKGics— Eleanor Oldroyd (@EllyOldroyd) October 22, 2019
Vervoort was a strong advocate of euthanasia and as she considered the option for herself, she remarked upon how it gave her the sense for the first time that her life was in her own hands.
"I'm really scared, but those (euthanasia) papers give me a lot of peace of mind because I know when it's enough for me, I have those papers," she said.Also on rt.com Rachel from Friends or Tinder logo? - Why fans are 'swiping left' on the Paris 2024 Olympics emblem
"If I didn’t have those papers, I think I'd have done suicide already. I think there will be fewer suicides when every country has the law of euthanasia. I hope everybody sees that this is not murder, but it makes people live longer.
"I feel different about death now than years ago,” Vervoort added. "For me I think death is something like they operate on you, you go to sleep and you never wake up. For me it’s something peaceful."