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Paralympic champion Marieke Vervoort dies by euthanasia

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 23/10/2019 Our Foreign Staff
Handout photo issued by Eurostar of Belgian wheelchair sprinter Marieke Vervoort and dog Zenn arriving on Eurostar at London St. Pancras for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. © Mark Allan/Eurostar/Press Association Images Handout photo issued by Eurostar of Belgian wheelchair sprinter Marieke Vervoort and dog Zenn arriving on Eurostar at London St. Pancras for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Belgian Paralympian Marieke Vervoort, the 100m champion from the 2012 London Games has died by euthanasia at the age of 40, Belgian media reported on Tuesday.

File video: Paralympian Said She Will End Her Life One Day (Newsy)

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Euthanasia is legal in Belgium and the spikey haired athlete announced her intentions after the Rio Games in 2016 to follow that path if her degenerative condition worsened her suffering.

Despite falling sick aged 14 Vervoort pursued a sporting life with passion, playing wheelchair basketball, swimming and racing in triathlons.

"De laatste wens van Marieke Vervoort" - de rolstoelatlete wil als laatste wens meerijden met een Lamborghini-racewagen op het Circuit van Zolder. Vervoort, die strijdt tegen een ongeneeslijke spieraandoening, is momenteel bezig met het regelen van haar euthanasie / "Le dernier souhait de Marieke Vervoort" - l'athlète en fauteuil roulant veut piloter comme un dernier souhait avec une voiture de course Lamborghini sur le circuit de Zolder. Vervoort, qui lutte contre un trouble musculaire incurable, est en train de contrôler son euthanasie
* Marieke Vervoort
** Niels Lagrange
Zolder 12/09/2019
pict. by Bert Van den Broucke © Photo News via Getty Images) © 2017 Photonews "De laatste wens van Marieke Vervoort" - de rolstoelatlete wil als laatste wens meerijden met een Lamborghini-racewagen op het Circuit van Zolder. Vervoort, die strijdt tegen een ongeneeslijke spieraandoening, is momenteel bezig met het regelen van haar euthanasie / "Le dernier souhait de Marieke Vervoort" - l'athlète en fauteuil roulant veut piloter comme un dernier souhait avec une voiture de course Lamborghini sur le circuit de Zolder. Vervoort, qui lutte contre un trouble musculaire incurable, est en train de contrôler son euthanasie * Marieke Vervoort ** Niels Lagrange Zolder 12/09/2019 pict. by Bert Van den Broucke © Photo News via Getty Images)

In 2016 she spoke to the BBC about her struggles with pain. 

Belgian wheelchair athlete Marieke Vervoort Wielemie pictured during the 40th edition of the KBC Nacht van de Atletiek athletics meeting, in Heusden-Zolder, Saturday 20 July 2019. BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND        (Photo credit should read ERIC LALMAND/AFP/Getty Images) Belgian wheelchair athlete Marieke Vervoort Wielemie pictured during the 40th edition of the KBC Nacht van de Atletiek athletics meeting, in Heusden-Zolder, Saturday 20 July 2019. BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND (Photo credit should read ERIC LALMAND/AFP/Getty Images)

"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.

Belgium Paralympic athlete Marieke Vervoot gives a press conference to defend her decision to undergo euthanasia after the Games, in the framework of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on September 11, 2016. / AFP / CHRISTOPHE SIMON        (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images) Belgium Paralympic athlete Marieke Vervoot gives a press conference to defend her decision to undergo euthanasia after the Games, in the framework of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on September 11, 2016. / AFP / CHRISTOPHE SIMON (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)

"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."

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The Samaritans offer support and advice to people feeling suicidal or vulnerable 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Their website is http://www.samaritans.org. Samaritans in Ireland can be contacted on freephone 116 123, text 087 260 9090 or email jo@samaritans.ie

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