24/10/2019 9:19 AM AEDT

Paralympic Gold Medalist Marieke Vervoort Has Ended Her Life Through Euthanasia

The 40-year-old Belgian wheelchair sprinter suffered from a degenerative muscle disease.

Paralympic gold medalist Marieke Vervoort has ended her life through euthanasia at the age of 40. 

The Beglian wheelchair sprinter suffered from a degenerative muscle disease which caused constant pain, seizures and paralysis. 

Euthanasia has been legal in Belgium since 2002 and Vervoort signed papers that would allow doctors to end her life back in 2008. 

Speaking at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, she told reporters it was “really, really hard to handle” her disease. 

“But those papers give me a lot of rest in my mind because I know when it’s enough for me, I have those papers. So I find it is a good thing because it’s not easy to get them,” Vervoort said. 

She won the 100m gold and 200m silver in wheelchair races at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, going on to win a silver medal in the 400m race and bronze in the 100m in Brazil four years later.