Former middle-distance runner Donato Sabia of Italy has recently died of coronavirus (COVID-19), the country's Olympic Committee has confirmed. He was 56-year-old.
Announcing the news, the Italian Olympic Committee said that the two-time 800m Olympic finalist had been in the intensive care unit (ICU) at San Carlo Hospital in the southern Italian region of Basilicata for a last few days.
The committee also confirmed that Sabia is the first Olympic finalist in the world to die from the pandemic, the Guardian reported.
Meanwhile, the Italian Athletics Federation (Fidal) paid tribute to Sabia by describing him an 'extraordinary talented athlete and a gentle person.'
“It’s a tragedy within a tragedy.Donato was a person who you couldn’t not love,"Fidal’s president Alfio Giomi said in an official statement.
The Fidal also revealed that Sabia’s father had also died of coronavirus a few days back.
Sabia made a fifth-place finish in the 800m race in the 1984 edition of the Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He then finished at the seventh spot in Seoul four years later.
The former 800m runner also bagged a gold medal at the European Indoor Championships in 1984.