PH sports icon Lydia de Vega succumbs to cancer

Asia’s former sprint queen Lydia De Vega Mercado lost her battle to Stage 4 cancer on Thursday, her family announced.

De Vega Mercado’s daughter Stephanie, a former volleyball standout from De La Salle University, made the announcement 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,” said Stephanie in a Facebook post. “She fought the very good fight and is now at peace.”

Nicknamed Diay, De Vega Mercado, who was born on Dec. 26, 1964, was 57.

It was also Stephanie, who broke the news to the public on July 21 that her mother was critically ill.

She said her mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2018 and has been silently fighting the disease for the past four years.

As the disease progressed, her condition quickly worsened despite her many procedures, including brain surgery.

Financial support poured in from all sectors, from President Bongbong Marcos Jr., the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office to Chooks-to-Go, sports personalities like pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena and even private citizens.

Mercado was the toast of Philippine athletics in the 1980s, having won the 100m and 200m gold medals in the Asian Athletics Championship in 1983 and 1987 and the 100m gold medal in the 1982 and 1986 Asian Games.

A product of Project Gintong Alay during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., Mercado competed and won multiple medals in the Southeast Asian Games from 1981 to 1993.

She ruled the 100m and 200m runs in her farewell performance in Singapore in 1993.

Stephanie said wake details will be announced soon. “But for now, I would wholeheartedly appreciate your prayers for the soul of my mother.”

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