World pays tribute to inspirational Gabe Grunewald

The 32-year-old leaves a huge legacy following her death.
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In her all-too-short 32 years on Earth, Gabriele Grunewald left an indelible legacy.

Diagnosed with cancer in 2009, the Perham native turned her setback into a force for good, still pursuing her dreams to become a professional runner while raising awareness of cancer research through her foundation, Brave Like Gabe.

Of the many quotes that Grunewald left us with, there are few better than the sign-off on her foundation's website:

Running made her feel alive, and so she pursued it as much as her illness would allow her, even to the point she was due to run in a 5K just 5 weeks ago, only for a health setback to prevent her.

Her death on Tuesday, poignantly announced by her husband Justin, included a message to all those who have supported her and shared her journey.

"To everyone else from all ends of the earth, Gabriele heard your messages and was so deeply moved. She wants you to stay brave and keep all the hope in the world. Thanks for helping keep her brave in her time of need," he wrote.

Tributes have flooded in since her death, with media from across the world covering her passing, such was her worldwide impact.

New York Times Sports columnist Michael Powell is among those who interviewed Grunewald over the years, and he paid his own tribute with this column, "Gabe Grunewald Couldn't Win This Race, But Oh Could She Shine."

Her alma mater, the University of Minnesota, paid tribute via its Gopher Cross Country Track & Field department.

In Minneapolis, Mayor Jacob Frey declared Wednesday to be "Gabe Grunewald Day" to honor her "extraordinary life and accomplishments," with the mayor himself a friend of Grunewald's.

"Gabe Grunewald was a champion on the track and in life," Frey wrote. "Her bravery was an inspiration, and her positive attitude was relentless. Honored to have known such an astounding hero."

Money flooded in too, with "Fixer Upper" star Chip Gaines, who was coached by Gabe, donating $512,000 to the Brave Like Gabe Foundation after promising to match donations made on Tuesday evening as part of a separate fundraising drive for St. Jude.

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