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Paralympian Angela Madsen dies trying to cross the Pacific Ocean

Madsen won a Paralympic bronze medal and competed in various sports in the Paralympic Games.

IPC Athletics World Championships - Day Two - Evening Session
Angela Madsen competed in three Paralympic Games, winning a bronze medal in shot put. She was also an avid rower.
Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images

Paralympic athlete Angela Madsen has died while attempting a solo crossing of the Pacific Ocean. She had just turned 60 on Sunday.

Angela’s wife, Debra Madsen, shared the tragic news on Facebook. Angela was apparently about halfway to Hawaii when she encountered a problem.

“With extreme sadness I must announce that Angela Madsen will not complete her solo row to Hawaii,” Debra wrote on Facebook. Angela had apparently been unresponsive to text messages for some time, and her geo tracking made Debra believe Angela was no longer in control of the boat. Debra described a scene with both American and German craft trying to reach Angela and her RowofLife boat.

“The plane saw Angela in the water, apparently deceased, tethered to RowofLife but was unable to relay that information due to poor satellite coverage,” Debra wrote. “When the Polynesia arrived about 11PM Monday night they found and recovered Angela’s body.”

Angela had won multiple golds at the World Rowing Championships. She was a member of Equality Coaching Alliance and a proudly out LGBTQ athlete.

In April, Disabled Magazine published an interview with Angela, in which she was asked about her principles for life:

“Step 1: Go out and try different things, find what it is you are uniquely able to do.

Step 2: give it your best shot and if it doesn’t work out go back to step 1.”

Click here to read the full Q&A.

We are keeping Angela and Debra in our thoughts at this difficult time.