Gabriele Grunewald Dies at 32, Fans Honor Her on Social Media

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  • Professional runner Gabriele Anderson Grunewald has died at age 32 after a decade-long battle with adenoid cystic carcinoma—a rare salivary gland cancer.
  • Grunewald was moved to comfort care last Sunday after she was readmitted to the intensive care unit because she was experiencing septic shock.
  • Family, friends, and fans took to social media to honor Grunewald with #BraveLikeGabe.

    Professional middle-distance runner Gabriele Grunewald passed away last night at the age of 32 in her Minnesota home, surrounded by her husband Justin Grunewald and other loved ones. Justin Grunewald confirmed the news in an emotional post on Instagram:

    “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.”

    Just a day ago, Justin posted on Instagram that Gabriele was receiving end-of-life care at home but was “resting peacefully and breathing easy” with family and friends. He noted that Gabriele was able to see the special redecorating touches that Chip and Joanna Gaines made to their new condo in Minnesota. Gabriele had trained the former Fixer Upper star for his first marathon last year. Gabriele first met Chip in New York City during his book tour, People reported.

    View this post on Instagram

    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

    A post shared by Justin Grunewald (@justingrunewald1) on Jun 11, 2019 at 6:35pm PDT

    This morning, Gaines honored Gabriele on Twitter, recalling the time they both first met. He also announced on Twitter that he would be matching the same amount of donations for his #ChipInChallenge for St. Jude, a leading children’s research hospital, with Gabriele’s foundation, Brave Like Gabe, which supports rare cancer research and cancer survivors.

    As one of the most adored track and field athletes, Gabriele’s legacy lives on in her family, friends, and fellow runners. People took to Twitter and Instagram to share their fond memories of Gabriele and how she has inspired them, using the hashtag #BraveLikeGabe.

    Alison Feller, a freelance writer and host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast, posted how Gabriele encourages her to run and live life with gratitude.

    Olympic silver medalist and professional runner Meb Keflezighi also shared how Gabriele’s passion for running and positive attitude has showed him how to persevere through life’s challenges.

    Professional runner Stephanie Bruce shared a 2017 text exchange between she and Gabriele. The text revealed how Grunewald would continue to plan her runs around chemotherapy and biopsies.

    Other runners and fans who didn’t know Gabriele personally wrote how her love for the sport helped them view running as a metaphor for getting through life’s ups and downs.

    As Justin so beautifully put on Instagram two days ago, “At the end of the day people don’t remember the PRs run or the teams qualified for but they will remember that hard period in life where they were losing hope but they found inspiration in a young lady who refuses to give up.”

    Rest in peace, Gabriele, and thanks for setting the pace.

    You can continue to support Gabriele’s legacy by donating to her foundation, Brave Like Gabe.

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    Tiffany Ayuda
    Tiffany Ayuda, a senior editor at Prevention and certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise, has specialized in fitness, health, and general wellness topics in her previously editorial roles at Life by Daily Burn, Everyday Health, and South Beach Diet.