AN OLYMPIC champion volleyball player has died abruptly at the age of 43.
Walewska Oliveira won gold for Brazil in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
She also won bronze in Sydney in 2000 and was a member of the team that competed in Athens four years later.
The middle blocker made her debut for Brazil in 1998 and went on to help her country win World Championship silver as well as two World Cup finals.
Throughout her distinguished career on the court, she also received various club and personal accolades.
Oliveira announced his retirement from the sport in 2022, saying, “My career was beautiful.” I want to thank everyone at Praia Clube for helping me finish my career here and for being a member of this group.
“I will cherish this moment for the rest of my life.”
Her cause of death in Sao Paulo has not been confirmed to the public.
The Brazilian Volleyball Confederation (CBV) tweeted: “With sadness and immense regret, the CBV received the news of the death of Olympic champion Walewska on Thursday night.
“At this difficult time, CBV sympathizes with the family and friends of this great player.”
CBV president Radames Lattari added: “Walewska was a special player, her career in the sport will forever be remembered and revered. At this difficult time, CBV sympathizes with the family and friends of this great player.”
Her last club, Praia Clube, also posted a heartbreaking message, writing: “Brazilian volleyball and the sports community have lost a true legend, and our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time.
“May her memory and legacy continue to shine as a source of inspiration for future generations.
“The No1 shirt, worn by Wal, was immortalised in our team in 2022 and will forever be remembered.”
Oliveira’s former Brazil team-mate Sheilla Castro added: “Walzinha, you have always been an example for me on and off the court.
“The pain is too great. Now the mourning is different due to your early departure.”