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Heartbreak as Australian equestrian star dies aged 38 after losing her legs and both her kidneys to a killer disease as a child

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 10/08/2018 Lauren Ferri

A beloved paralympic equestrian who lost both her legs and kidneys when she was 16 years old has died.

Nicole Kullen was just 16 when she was diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis and as a result, lost both her kidneys and had to have both her legs amputated.

The talented equestrian, from Bathurst, 200 kilometres north-west of Sydney, sadly died at age 38.  

a person riding a horse: Beloved paralympic equestrian, Nicole Kullen (pictured), who lost her legs and kidneys at 16, has died at age 38 © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Beloved paralympic equestrian, Nicole Kullen (pictured), who lost her legs and kidneys at 16, has died at age 38

In August 1996, Ms Kullen contracted the disease and spent six weeks on life support in an induced coma.

After coming out of the coma she spent a further six months in hospital recovering from the illness.  

Due to the disease, Ms Kullen had limited arm movements, limited strength, no function in both hands and wrists, and had to have her legs amputated.

Her internal organs continued to cause health implications, and four years later she lost all function in both kidneys. 

Despite this, the talented equestrian battled on and continued her passion of riding horses following her release from hospital, the Weekly Times reported.

Ms Kullen competed at the World Para-Dressage Championships in 2007 and the Beijing Paralympics in 2008.

a group of people posing for the camera: Despite losing her legs and all function in her hands and wrists, Ms Kullen (pictured) continued to pursue her passion of horse riding © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Despite losing her legs and all function in her hands and wrists, Ms Kullen (pictured) continued to pursue her passion of horse riding

Some of her greatest achievements include winning silver and bronze at the 2007 World Para-Dressage Championships, and fourth place in freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.

Equestrian Australia has posted online in Ms Kullen's memory, expressing their sincere condolences.

'Nicole was a true ambassador for Para-Equestrian Sport in Australia and this was evident to all that met her,' the Facebook post read.

'Our thoughts are with Nicole’s mother Margaret & Family at this difficult time.'  

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