Marnie McBean (l) and Kathleen Heddle (r) are all smiling after winning the Outstanding Couples Award at the Canadian Sport Awards (Kevin Frayer / CP)

Canada’s Heddle and Marnie McBean won Olympic gold medals in 1992 and 1996 as a pair without a helmsman, respectively In 1992, Heddle also earned gold with the women’s eight

in the double scull

“I am dejected today and without words about this loss,” wrote McBean on Wednesday in a social media post “ Too early ”

She died at home in Vancouver on Monday, according to a statement from Rowing Canada released Wednesday on behalf of her family

“While our grief is as heavy as the darkest moment of the night, the gifts Kathleen gave us shine as bright as the moon and stars,” her family said in the statement

“ In time, memories of our happiest days with Kathleen will overcome our tears ”

The statement included a quote from Heddle in November 2020: “How is it that, among some of the worst days, you can have some of the best at all?”

Heddle was born in Trail, but her family moved to Vancouver as a child. She became a rower while studying at the University of British Columbia

Heddle and McBean are the only Canadian athletes to have won three gold medals in the Summer Olympics. They also won gold in the pair at the 1991 and 1995 World Championships

“Kathleen had an incredible sense of touch and seemed to be aware of the natural rhythm and flow in things,” wrote her family in their homage to her

“ Kathleen loved the serenity of being on the water and in nature, always an advocate of wearing a hat and sunscreen, even on a cloudy day ”

“It doesn’t seem possible that this incredible athlete and beautiful person have disappeared,” wrote Heddenes’ Canadian rowing teammate Silken Laumann in a social media post “ The world has lost a true hero ”

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Kathleen Heddle

World news – CA – Olympic rowing champion Kathleen Heddle dies of cancer at the age of 55