Belgian Paralympian Marieke Vervoort died by euthanasia on Tuesday.
The 40-year-old had battled with an incurable and degenerative spinal condition since she was a teenager.
Vervoort signed her euthanasia papers in 2008 in Belgium, where assisted dying is legal.
After winning a silver medal at Rio 2016, she said her condition had become harder and harder to bear.
And spoke about the comfort the euthanasia papers had given her.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) MARIEKE VERVOORT, PARALYMPICS ATHLETE, SAYING:
"If I didn't have those papers, I think I did already suicide because it's very hard to live with so many pain and suffering and this unsureness. Every year, it is going more and more less so I'm really glad with those papers."
Vervoort won gold in the 100 meters wheelchair race at the London Games in 2012.
And retired from competition four years later in Rio.
She went on to advocate for dialog on assisted dying in countries around the world.
Writing on Twitter, Belgium's royal family said Vervoort was an athlete of iron strength and a great lady, whose death had "greatly" affected them.