AN OLYMPIC champion volleyball star has died suddenly aged just 43.
Walewska Oliveira claimed gold for Brazil at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
AFPBrazilian volleyball Walewska Oliveira, left, has died aged 43[/caption]
She also won bronze at Sydney 2000 and was selected as part of the team that went to the Games in Athens four years later.
The middle blocker made her Brazil debut in 1998 and helped her country to World Championship silver as well as two World Cup finals.
She also won numerous awards at club level and personally throughout her distinguished career on the court.
Oliveira retired in 2022 and tragically said upon leaving the beloved sport: “My career was beautiful. I have a lot to thank everyone, Praia Clube for ending my career here, for participating in 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.”
GettyOliveira helped Brazil to Olympic gold at Beijing 2008[/caption]
AFPShe won numerous titles individually and for her club teams[/caption]