Runner Gabriele “Gabe” Grunewald has died from cancer at age 32, her husband shared on Instagram Tuesday evening.
“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,” her husband, Justin Grunewald, wrote. “I always felt like the Robin to your Batman and I know I will never be able to fill this gaping hold in my heart or fill the shoes you have left behind.”
Her passing came days after her husband shared that Gabe, who was first diagnosed with cancer in 2009, was in comfort care at their home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after her health took a drastic turn.
Gabe was a distance runner studying at the University of Minnesota when she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in the salivary gland called adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC). One year later, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
She did not let cancer stop her running career, however, and went on to finish in fourth place in the 1,500 meter race at the 2012 Olympic Trials after going through treatments and surgery. She ran a personal best in the same race one year later and won the indoor 3,000 meter national title in 2014.
Unfortunately the ACC returned in 2016. Doctors removed 50% of her liver in a surgery that left her with a scar across her abdomen. Even still, she pusehd to qualify for the 2020 Olympics.
Gabe died peacefully in her home with family by her side. Her husband wrote, “I’m holding her hands so tight and am so scared for the trail ahead. But I know she will always be by my and everyone’s side helping us to be brave and remain hopeful on our journey when times get hard.”