Beloved marathon runner Gabriele “Gabe” Grunewald has died after a decade-long battle with cancer.
Her husband, Justin Grunewald, confirmed the news this Tuesday, June 11, in a heartbreaking Instagram post.
“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,” he wrote alongside two photos of them running side-by-side. “@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,” he continued. “Your family loves you dearly as do your friends.”
Justin shared two other posts this week, detailing Gabriele’s heartbreaking health decline.
“It breaks my heart to say but overnight Gabriele’s status worsened with worsening liver function causing confusion. Wanting to do her no harm we have made the difficult decision to move her to comfort cares this afternoon,” Justin wrote this Monday, June 10.
“I wanted to let you all know while she is still alive so you can send her one last message here or on her wall or on her phone before she heads up to heaven,” he added.
The athlete — who continued to race amid her treatment — was then readmitted to the ICU because she was experiencing septic shock.
In 2009, Gabriele was diagnosed with a rare salivary gland cancer called adenoid cystic carcinoma, and a year later, she learned she also had thyroid cancer.
Chip and Joanna Gaines, the Fixer Upper couple, became friends with her and began supporting her cause. On their Magnolia website, they started the #ChipInChallenge, where they collect money for cancer research.
Hours before Gabriele’s passing, Chip, 44, posted an emotional tribute to his pal, and asked fans to please donate to the #BraveLikeGabeFoundation, in her honor.
According to Justin, Gabriele went peacefully, surrounded by her loved ones. She will be remembered and loved by so many, and her family and friends will continue to fight for her cause.
R.I.P. Gabe Grunewald.