González was the Pan American Champion in 2013 and 2014, and holds bronze medals from Grand Slams in Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Baku
Maricet Espinosa González, a Cuban judo champion who represented her country in the 2016 Olympics, has died, according to multiple reports. She was 34.
On Monday, the Pan-American Judo Confederation reported González's death in a post on social media.
"With deep sadness we bid farewell to a legend of Pan-American and Cuban Judo. Maricet Espinosa, affectionately known as 'La Mole', leaves an indelible legacy," the confederation wrote, originally in Spanish, on Instagram.
The confederation's statement continued, "Two-time Pan American Champion, World Medalist and Olympic Representative in Rio 2016. Rest in peace, our dearest Maricet. Our condolences to his family and Cuban judo. Your spirit and your achievements will last forever."
Wanda Más Váldes, a neighbor and family friend of González, tells PEOPLE the former Olympian suffered a heart attack on Jan. 21 in Armenia. Several local outlets, including CiberCuba and JudoInside, have also reported a heart attack as the cause of death.
According to Váldes, González' mother lives in Cuba, while "her sister and daughter live in Armenia, where she sadly lost her life."
A GoFundMe page was launched on Monday to raise money for González' family to afford the cost of transporting her body back to Cuba. The fundraiser also reported Jan. 21 as the date of González's death, and said "her relatives do not have enough funds to send the body to her country."
The Cuban Sports University, also known as Universidad del Deporte Cubano, mourned the athlete in a Facebook post on Monday.
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Translated into English, the university's statement said, "It is with great pain that the Cuban university sports community receives the news of the death of the outstanding Cuban judoka Maricet Espinosa González. At only 34 years old, 'La Mole' left for eternity, born in the capital, who stood out as a member of our national judo team, achieving two titles and a Pan American silver, all in the -63kg category."
Concluding the statement, the university extended its "deepest condolences" to González' friends, family and colleagues.
Born in Havana, Cuba on Jan. 2 1990, González competed in Judo all over the world. According to InsideJudo, she was the Pan American Champion in 2013 and 2014, and holds bronze medals from Grand Slams in Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Baku.
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