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An Olympian Who Died Tragically In Rio Saved Four Lives Through This Selfless Act

His sacrifice lives on in others.

Stefan Henze after winning his Silver medal in 2004 (Getty)

If there was an Olympic medal for posthumous accomplishments, Stefan Henze would surely take home the gold.


The 35-year-old German canoe slalom coach died tragically in Rio after a car crash last week. However, the 2004 Athens Olympics silver medal winner was also a registered organ donor, according to the Independent.

After getting permission from his family, several of Henze’s organs were donated to people in need at local hospitals. And those donations have already literally saved at least four lives. “Heart, liver and both kidneys have been successfully transplanted. Thus he has saved four lives,” a spokesperson from the Brazilian health ministry told Die Welt, a German newspaper.

His tragic death is obviously still very fresh in the world’s mind. “The IOC is mourning the loss of a true Olympian,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement. “Our sympathy is with the family of Stefan Henze, his friends and all of the German Olympic team.”

As a statement from the German Olympic committee DOSB read: “Words cannot describe what we feel in the team after this terrible loss.”

But his family, friends and supporters can take some solace in knowing that an already incredibly accomplished athlete and coach in life, perhaps became something even greater in death. As his family said in a statement:

“We know that Stefan's own Olympic thoughts live on in many people.”

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