Runners around the world are mourning the death of Gabriele Grunewald, who passed away last night at her home in Minneapolis. She was 32. Gunewald had been moved from hospital to comfort care on Monday, then back home as her condition deteriorated. She had been battling multiple cancers for a number of years, but the elite runner continued to train and compete whenever she was able to, and was a source of inspiration to athletes and others dealing with cancer.
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At 7:52 I said “I can’t wait until I get to see you again” to my hero, my best friend, my inspiration, my wife. @gigrunewald I always felt like the Robin to your Batman and I know I will never be able to fill this gaping hole in my heart or fill the shoes you have left behind. Your family loves you dearly as do your friends. When @chipgaines made the final push in his #chipinchallenge I could feel your happiness building and could also see that this made you ready to head up to heaven. Chip thanks for helping her to go up so peacefully with no suffering. To everyone else from all ends of the earth, Gabriele heard your messages and was so deeply moved. She wants you to stay brave and keep all the hope in the world. Thanks for helping keep her brave in her time of need 😪🙏🏻 #keeprunningonhope #bravelikegabe 📸 @pixelcrave 📷 @kohjiro_kinno
Grunewald was initially diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare form of cancer affecting the salivary gland, in 2009, and thyroid cancer the following year. She graduated as an NCAA All-American in the 1,500m, and pursued a professional running career despite dealing with several surgeries and chemotherapy. In 2014, she won the US indoor national championship in the 3,000m. Grunewald was sponsored by Brooks.
Inspiring thousands for her candor and optimism around competing while facing rare metastatic cancer, the pro runner Gabe Grunewald (@gg_runs) died on June 11, her husband confirmed. She was 32. This was very sad to follow and write. #BraveLikeGabe [1/5] https://t.co/46IpOpWCP9
— Lindsay Crouse (@lindsaycrouse) June 12, 2019
In late 2016 she learned the cancer had spread to her liver, and she had an operation that left a long and visible scar on her abdomen, which became a badge of courage as she continued to race and began to speak publicly about her cancer journey.
Grunewald leaves her husband, Justin Grunewald, her parents, her sister and three brothers.
Click here to donate to the Brave Like Gabe Foundation, which she set up to fund cancer research.