Ana Paula Borgo, a former star volleyball player from Brazil, passed away on Thursday at the age of 29, News Rebeat reported.
She succumbed to a cancerous stomach tumor that had been discovered last year and forced her to retire early from her promising career as a top international player.
The sad news about Borgo's untimely death was first shared on social media by her mother, Debora Borgo, who posted a picture of her smiling daughter and wrote in Portuguese, "Jesus picked up my daughter."
She further referenced in a follow-up post that a service in her memory would be held that night in a volleyball gym Borgo used to play in and added, "I ask for prayer from everyone and those who love and admire her to attend."
The news outlet noted that Borgo had been diagnosed with the tumor last year in September while undergoing a pre-season medical exam for Barueri, the professional women's volleyball team that she was set to play for in Brazil's league. Prior to that, Borgo had played for professional teams in Italy and Turkey, as well as other teams in Brazil before that, but was perhaps best known as a star player for Brazil's national team.
The International Volleyball Federation, also known as the FIVB, released a statement on Friday that said, "The FIVB is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Ana Paula Borgo, a former player of the Brazil national volleyball team, at only 29 years of age following her brave battle with cancer."
Born in 1993 in Sao Paolo, Borgo began her career as a professional volleyball player with "São Caetano and went on to play for Pinheiros, Osasco, Praia Clube, and Fluminense. She will be remembered by all in the volleyball community for her bravery on and off the court and her passion for volleyball."
She also helped the Brazilian national team win a silver medal at the 2019 Volleyball Nations League and won gold in 2015 at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s U23 World Championship.
"The FIVB and the global Volleyball Family extends its deepest condolences to the Brazilian volleyball community, as well as her family and loved ones at this very difficult time," the organization added.
Also marking Borgo's tragic death was the Brazilian Volleyball Confederation in a social media post that expressed the organization's "deep regret" at the passing of the star player with "great talent" at the young age of 29.
"In this very difficult time, CBV is in solidarity with the family and friends of Ana Paula Borgo," the group added.
The volleyball website Volley Trails also reported on the death of Borgo and noted that following her diagnosis of stomach cancer last year had "shared messages of faith on social media and had also shown confidence, even with an aggressive stomach tumor that had metastasized."
Her most recent post to Instagram, just two days before she died, featured a picture of her in better times with her husband, Carlos Guedes, and in which she thanked him for the love and devotion and care he had shown for her while battling the ultimately fatal disease.
Borgo wrote that her husband had proven "that he really was the man God sent to me," that she wished "everyone had the privilege of having a Carlos in their lives," and that she was "Grateful to our magnificent God who sent you as a beautiful gift to me."