South African Athletics

Comrades star loses cancer battle

2016-02-14 12:19
Riana van Niekerk (Twitter)

Cape Town - Four-time Comrades Marathon gold medallist Riana van Niekerk has died after a nine-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

She was 39.

“Riana died at 4pm. She fought like the champ she is,” her husband, Allie, posted on social media on Saturday.

According to The Citizen website, in 2015, while preparing for her attempt at a fifth Comrades gold medal, Van Niekerk was diagnosed with the disease.

After six months of chemotherapy, and having parts of her gallbladder and pancreas removed, Allie revealed last month the treatment had not been successful, and she was due to start a new round of chemo sessions.

Aside from her Comrades performances, Van Niekerk also earned three gold medals in the 56km Two Oceans race.

Van Niekerk, a former SA marathon champion, boasted victories at the Om Die Dam, Loskop and City2City ultra-marathons.

Social media was quick to pay tribute to Van Niekerk.

Read more on:    comrades  |  riana van niekerk  |  athletics
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