Runner Gabriele "Gabe" Grunewald has died from cancer at age 32, her husband shared on Instagram Tuesday evening.
"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," her husband, Justin Grunewald, wrote. "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."
Her passing came days after her husband shared that Gabe, who was first diagnosed with cancer in 2009, was in comfort care at their home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after her health took a drastic turn.
"It breaks my heart to say but overnight Gabriele’s status worsened with worsening liver function causing confusion,'' he wrote. "Wanting to do her no harm we have made the difficult decision to move her to comfort cares this afternoon."
Gabe was a distance runner studying at the University of Minnesota when she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in the salivary gland called adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC). One year later, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
She did not let cancer stop her running career, however, and she went on to finish in fourth place in the 1,500-meter race at the 2012 Olympic trials after going through treatments and surgery. She ran a personal best in the same race one year later and won the indoor 3,000-meter national title in 2014.
Unfortunately, the ACC returned in 2016. Doctors removed 50% of her liver in a surgery that left her with a scar across her abdomen, according to her website. Even still, she pushed to qualify for the 2020 Olympics.
In an Instagram post on May 4, she shared a picture of herself in a hospital bed with apologies that she would not be able to run in a 5K race for her Brave Like Gabe foundation, which raises awareness and funding to combat rare cancers.
"It’s not lost on me that maybe this is one of the most poignant ways to show just how critical research is,'' she wrote. "Cancer is nothing if not incredibly inconvenient and we need more options. I wish I didn’t have to show it in this way because there’s so many people I’d love to meet and catch up with tomorrow."
That was her final post before passing away.
Her husband, who continued to share the final days of her life on Instagram, shared Tuesday afternoon a photo of the couple walking outside side by side.
"I'm holding her hands so tight and am so scared for the trail ahead," he wrote. "But I know she will always be by my and everyone's side helping us to be brave and remain hopeful on our journey when times get hard."