Asia’s track and field legend, Lydia de Vega, has passed away from a four-year battle with breast cancer on August 10, 2022. She was 57.
Her daughter Stephanie Mercado-de Koenigswarter confirmed the sad news on social media.
“On behalf of our family, it is with absolute grief that I announce the death of my mother, Lydia de Vega, this evening, August 10, 2022, at the Makati Medical Center. She fought the very good fight and is now at peace.”
Weeks before her mother’s passing, Stephanie revealed that her mother was in “very critical condition” due to complications caused by stage 4 breast cancer.
Lydia was dubbed “Asia’s sprint queen” in the 1980s for bagging gold medals in the 1982 and 1986 Asian Games, as well as the Asian Athletics Championships in 1983 and 1987. She also represented the Philippines in the 1984 and 1988 Summer Olympics.
Lydia may have retired from active competition in 1994, but she has inspired generations of Filipino women to break barriers in fields that are dominated by men—both in sports and politics. In the early 2000s, she served as a councilor of her hometown, Meycauayan in Bulacan, and coached young aspiring athletes in Singapore.
In 2018, Lydia was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent brain surgery four years later.
The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA)’s president, Terry Capistrano, extended his deepest condolences to Lydia’s family.
“On behalf of the men and women of the PATAFA, our deepest condolences and prayers to the family of the great Lydia de Vega. We lost one of our own, one of our best but her spirit will live on in our hearts."
May you rest in peace, Lydia.
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