M95 superstar Pauwels plans own death after discovering cancer

Emiel is pictured on story telling his plans.

Belgium’s Emiel Pauwels turned 95 in late December, but will seek no more world titles and records. He plans to die next week. Belgian press reports say he suffers from stomach and colon cancer, which prevented him from keeping his food down at Porto Alegre worlds. “The doctors did not operate on me,” Emiel said, “but I said it’s amen and [filled] out all the papers for euthanasia in order; next week it’s done with me.” Before he goes, however, he plans an event, saying: “I give a big party for my friends, next Monday with champagne for everyone, because I do not want people to grieve because I go!” Emiel has been a masters star since the 1980s. In March, a viral video showed him edging a Finnish rival at the Eurovets indoor meet. Belgians are allowed to die by doctor’s hands under the country’s Euthanasia Act.

Emiel excelled at many distances and the high jump, and won world titles.

Here’s an English translation of the Belgian report:

He wanted to win more gold medals and breaking records at the athletics World Championships for masters in Budapest, later in March. But alas, the oldest and most impressive Belgian athlete Emiel Pauwels (95 ) has cancer, and run does not work anymore.

“The doctors did not operate on me, but I said it’s amen and out all the papers for euthanasia in order, next week it’s done with me.”

Last year Emiel stunned the world with a still unlikely duel (see video) at the European Athletics Championships for veterans in San Sebastian.

He patted his one year old Finnish rival Ilmari Koppinen the measurement euphoric and threw his arm in the air. The pictures went around the world. And in 2013 he became world champion high jump in October in its category. He went quickly over 87cm, with buikrol. Most of all, he had won this year five gold medals, plus a silver and a bronze at the World Indoor Championships in Budapest, Hungary. But so far so it does not come .

Emiel stomach and colon cancer. That is too much. Even for an athlete like him, “When I was in October, home of the World Cup in Brazil, I could not keep my food inside. I was however always a good eater.”

In the morning I ate before I started training, always an orange and a banana, two eggs with bacon and four slices of bread with chocolate and a piece of camembert afternoon I ate mostly fish – which is good for a sportsman – and the evening four sandwiches with ham and a piece of chocolate in the beginning, I thought I might suffered from having to sit so long on the plane, but it was not after a few weeks I have to agree with my doctors asked to examine me and they sent me straight to the emergency room! And she said, after four days of investigation, I had cancer, my stomach and my intestines they could operate direct me, the professors said, my whole body was still as strong as that of one of sixty. My heart and my lungs are good, but my stomach could ever wish for is not.”

An operation would bring solace to the verdict of the oncologist in Bruges Sint -Lucas Hospital. But that did not. Emiel: “An operation I refused I, a man of 95 years, operate, and then after that I would be healed I could walk back to everyone that was a big question mark when I said : . ? ? . Amen and it’s off. I have the papers for euthanasia put in order, and I came home my dream: to be 100 years old and are very healthy.”

Another highlight, he wants to experience before he dies: “I give a big party for my friends, next Monday with champagne for everyone because I do not want people to grieve because I go!”

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January 4, 2014

17 Responses

  1. Tom Phillips - January 4, 2014

    Farewell, my friend. It was an honour to watch you race and jump.

  2. Weia Reinboud - January 4, 2014

    I met him in the hotel in Ancona 2009, European indoor championships. Very friendly man.

  3. Stefan Waltermann - January 4, 2014

    The man lives in an enlightened society. Here, he would have been kept around until he could leave the world freed of all possessions. And only after his descendants would get fleeced and sleep on park benches, special interest would let him die screaming. I envy you, my man. God Speed.

  4. Rob Jerome - January 4, 2014

    I’ve photographed Emiel many times. An inspirational man to the end. God bless you, Emiel.

  5. Bob - January 4, 2014

    rest in peace Emiel. Stefan & Bubba, many US doctors & hospitals reject the scenario you paint with such a broad brush. I have watched friends and relatives go peacefully, painlessly with the support of doctors. In my personal experience out health care system gave my father almost two decades of good quality of life and when the finally became too much for his body to handle those same doctors helped him go peacefully in the comfort of his own home surrounded by his family.
    God Bless.

  6. Bob - January 4, 2014

    sorry two decades after a terminal diagnosis.

  7. Levasseur - January 5, 2014

    I crossed many times Emiel path during Championship
    last time in San Sebastian indoor. comes to the call room Emiel back from his own race. I remember him full of enthousiasm. I will keep him in my mind as a gentleman who represent exactly what I am looking for the rest of my life.
    Now I think Guido Muller is like his Spiritual son.

  8. Tom Phillips - January 5, 2014

    I’ve blogged my own tribute to Emiel here: http://wp.me/sNeKp-dignity

  9. Roger Pierce - January 6, 2014

    Emile, This is an incredibly difficult but courageous decision. We will remember you as an outstanding athlete. A well lived life…

  10. Mary Harada - January 6, 2014

    Farewell to an incredible athlete, how fortunate he is to be able to control the ending of his life. He lives in a civilized country.
    Those who disagree are free to come to my home and assist me and my spouse of nearly 49 years struggle with his terminal illness. He has opted for comfort care and hospice has been called in – but that is no guarantee of an easy and pain free path.

  11. Weia Reinboud - January 7, 2014

    It has happened. Video of yesterday: http://www.standaard.be/cnt/dmf20140106_00915737

  12. Ken Stone - January 7, 2014

    Thanks, Weia!

    To be clear: The going-away party was yesterday, not the passing. Here’s a translation of the video description:

    Emiel Pauwels (95), the oldest athlete in our country, has held a farewell party for friends, family and athletes. Tuesday Miel get out of life because he suffers from stomach cancer. Many attendees expressed their regret, but could also understand the decision of the bishop.

  13. Stefan Waltermann - January 8, 2014

    Wonderful, a very touching video!!! Surrounded by friends and family and medals, having a glass of what looks like red wine, smiling, laughing, having fun… what a way to go. Asked if he is afraid, he answers with total conviction,no, he is not, heaven is waiting. Watch it. You might not understand a word but you certainly will get it.

  14. Ken Stone - January 8, 2014

    Report of his passing:

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