Former athletics chief Philip Ella Juico was saddened by the passing of former sprint queen Lydia De Vega, one of Philippine's most beloved sports icon.
Juico, now chairman emeritus of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA), said the athletics community is mourning over the death of "Diay," who succumbed to complications related to cancer on Wednesday.
"I join the country, especially the athletics and track and field community in mourning the death of Lydia 'Diay' de Vega," he said in a statement. "We stormed heaven with our prayers. The Lord had other great plans for Diay."
Juico said De Vega served as an inspiration to a multitude of Filipino athletes.
De Vega, once recognized as "Asia's fastest woman" in the 1980s, collected medals for the country in the Asian Athletics Championships, Asian Games and Southeast Asian Games.
Until 2020, she held the national record for the women's 100-meter dash with her time of 11.28 seconds.
De Vega passed away after a four-year battle with cancer. She was 57.
"Had Diay stayed a bit longer in this life, she would have continued to have been a role model and an inspiration as an authentic Filipino athlete who genuinely loved sports for the good it could do and not for what she could get out of it," said Juico.
"She knew that a force for good like sports should bring out the best in people."