- 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.
I knew @gg_runs for less than 2 years, but those weren’t an ordinary 2 years. Time for her was more like jet fuel, and she burned through every drop. I’m going to go on a long jog today in honor of you gabe! and I promise, til we meet again.. to be Brave! #BraveLikeGabe
— Chip Gaines (@chipgaines) June 12, 2019
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.
What if today, we all promised to start living #bravelikegabe? And we stopped going through the motions, stopped “getting through the day,” stopped waiting. Gabe didn’t wait. Gabe LIVED. She had 32 years, & she fought for them & triumphed in them. Let’s all do that.
— Ali Feller (@AliOnTheRun1) June 12, 2019
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.
Thank You @gg_runs for your inspiration. Your life and your running personified the meaning of perseverance and gratitude. Our love, thoughts and prayers are with you, Justin and your families. #BraveLikeGabe https://t.co/9W7ogba3dA
— meb keflezighi (@runmeb) June 10, 2019
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.
A text exchange from 2017 between @gg_runs and I. She was always planning her runs and meet ups around chemotherapy and procedures. Not what a young person should have to do. But she lived with passion, positivity, and perseverance. Love you Gabe❤️❤️ #BraveLikeGabe pic.twitter.com/t0Bs6VzaUY
— Stephanie Bruce (@Steph_Rothstein) June 9, 2019
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.
I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to stand in Gabe’s light. Her brightness shines even in her hardest moments. Her strength & tenacity are just part of her legacy.
I will strive to spend every day being #BraveLikeGabe. Thanks for setting the pace, @gg_runs. We ❤️ you. pic.twitter.com/ujQKF4Mwer
— Amanda Brooks (@BrooksAD) June 9, 2019
in her times of sickness and hurt, @gg_runs chose not to retreat into herself and shrink from the world; instead, she overcame the pain to fight for what she believed in and make life better for others
may she forever serve as an example of true strength #BraveLikeGabe
— Erin Finn (@erinefinn) June 10, 2019
Gabriele Grunewald has inspired so many people with her bravery and courage. Every time I read about Gabriele I am moved and full of so much admiration for her. #BraveLikeGabe @gg_runs
— Jo Pavey (@jopavey) June 10, 2019
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.
Stay updated on the latest science-backed health, fitness, and nutrition news by signing up for the Prevention.com newsletter here. For added fun, follow us on Instagram.
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.