July 17, 2013 at 12:50 PM ET
Molli Serrano, the triathlete whose battle with pancreatic cancer was chronicled last July on “Everyone Has a Story,” has died from the disease.
The 40-year-old Florida mother of twins passed away on Monday, according to an obituary in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
"She was a phenomenal athlete. Her peers in the athletic community loved her and admired her for her strength and willingness to work very hard," her husband Juan Serrano told the paper. "She was an A-plus mom and even better than that, a first-class wife."
A cancer-free Serrano appeared on TODAY last year with her sister and a friend to speak with Kathie Lee and Hoda. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2011 shortly after a biking friend of hers insisted she get an MRI to investigate stomach pains she was having.
Serrano soon underwent major surgery to remove numerous organs, but returned to her Ironman training just weeks later, carrying her chemotherapy pump in the back pocket of her biking jersey.
Serrano’s strength proved to be an inspiration to everyone who knew her, her sister, Nikki Kantis, told Kathie Lee and Hoda.
“My mother and I said it, every time we saw her, we were amazed. You would think that we would have to lift her up, and she was the one, when we were with her, she lifted us up,” she said.
Serrano, who competed in the Ironman World Championship last November, was considered one of the best amateur triathletes in the country.
She is survived by her husband Juan and their 9-year-old children, Nicholas and Isabella.