Angela Madsen, who overcame paraplegia to become a three-time paralympian and world champion rower, has died at sea.
According to the Long Beach Pacific Times, Madsen was found by the Coast Guard on Tuesday one day after a search for her boat began. Madsen had attempting a historic solo rowing trip from Los Angeles to Hawaii.
The 60-year-old paralympian embarked on the trip in April, bringing only food, desalination materials and supplies. As of writing, the exact cause of her passing has not been made public. But Madsen's wife Deb revealed that she had stopped receiving texts from her spouse on Sunday, which alarmed her. She then found that Madsen's boat appeared to be drifting instead of rowing.
"When I checked the main message inbox, she had not returned any messages," Deb said, per TMZ. "When I looked at the tracking, it did not appear that she was rowing the boat, but rather that is was drifting."
Madsen's story is among the most incredible in the world. She suffered a severe spinal injury while training for the Marines. When the U.S. Military did not pay her medical bills, Madsen wound up homeless.
But she soon took up wheelchair basketball and then rowing, where she quickly became a star. In the early-2000s, she competed in the World Rowing Championships, winning silver at the single sculls in 2002 before reeling off three-straight gold medals in the double sculls.
In 2007, she became the first disabled person to row across the Atlantic Ocean.
From there, Madsen's Paralympic career began. She made the Paralympics in 2008, 2012 and 2016, winning bronze at shot put in 2012 at the age of 52.
Our hearts go out to Madsen's family and loved ones.