Paralympic gold medallist Marieke Vervoort ends life through euthanasia

23 October 2019, 03:15 | Updated: 28 October 2019, 15:26

Belgian Paralympian Marieke Vervoort has ended her own life through euthanasia.

The 40-year-old - who had an incurable degenerative muscle disease - won gold and silver at the London 2012 Paralympics, and two further medals at Rio 2016.

Vervoort's disease caused constant pain, seizures, paralysis in her legs and left her barely able to sleep.

Euthanasia is legal in Belgium and in 2008 the athlete signed papers which would at some stage allow a doctor to end her life.

During the build-up to Rio, Vervoort said she was considering euthanasia and that the 2016 Olympics was her "last wish".

She told reporters at the time: "You have to live day-by-day and enjoy the little moments.

"When the day comes - when I have more bad days than good days - I have my euthanasia papers. But the time is not there yet."

A statement from her home city of Diest said Vervoort had "responded to her choice on Tuesday evening", and that a book of condolence is available in its town hall.