Italian athlete Donato Sabia, a 800-meter double Olympic finalist in 1984 and 1988, died at the age of 56, a victim of Covid-19, the Italian Athletics Federation (Fidal) announced on Wednesday.

Sabia, who has been in an intensive care unit for several days at the Potenza hospital in the Basilicata region in the heart of southern Italy, died a few days after her father, who was also infected with the virus, Fidal said.

“A person you couldn’t help but love”

“A tragedy adds to a tragedy, Donato was a person you couldn’t help but love,” said Alfio Giomi, president of Fidal.

European champion in the 800m track in 1984 in Gothenburg, Sweden, Donato Sabia had finished the following summer in the 5th Olympics final in Los Angeles. Four years later at the Seoul Games, he had reached the final of the double track race, this time taking seventh place.

With over 17,000 dead, Italy is the country most saddened by the epidemic.

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