Tragic death of top Swedish athlete Emilia Brangefält at the age of 21

Image of Swedish mountain runner Emilia Brangefält.

Image of Swedish mountain runner Emilia Brangefält. Credit: Emilia Brangefält on Instagram

ONE of Sweden’s most promising young athletes has died at the age of 21.

According to a statement released by the Swedish Athletics Federation this Wednesday, November 22, Emilia Brangefält took her own life.

They revealed that: ‘During her last months, Emilia felt very bad, both physically and mentally. She had good support from those closest to her, but on November 13, she ended her life’.

Kajsa Bergqvist, the captain of the Swedish Athletics Federation commented: ‘It is so deeply tragic. I have a hard time finding words’.

‘I didn’t know Emilia personally but have understood that she was a very nice person, a forward-thinking, lovely, talented girl with her whole life ahead of her. On behalf of Swedish Athletics, I send my warmest thoughts to Emilia’s closest bereaved’, she added.

What were Emilia’s achievements?

The young mountain runner displayed a glimpse of her future potential by winning an SM gold medal in Genarp at the age of 20. She followed that performance with a WC bronze in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in her very first international competition. This summer, Brangefält also came fifth in the WC in Innsbruck.

Karl Avedal, the national trail’s team leader described the news as a shock for Löparsverige. ‘Me and the friends in the national trail team remember her as the happy, very popular girl she was, full of energy. Her personality lifted the team. It feels completely surreal that she is actually gone’.

Emilia’s association, Västerås FK, also made an announcement on its website: ‘We are an association in mourning and send all our love and strength to Emilia’s family’, they wrote.

Emilia posted on Instagram just a few weeks ago

In a post on her Instagram account on November 4, Emilia Brangefält revealed the problems she was dealing with. ‘Been a while since I’ve posted anything here. And that’s because since the end of July my body shut down. Haven’t been able to train anything due to a extremely high heart rate. (120-150 bpm) just standing up’, she wrote.

She continued: ‘Just taking a walk is painful right now. Have been to the hospital and visit the medical over 20 times but every single blood test/ ekg/ cycle test is good. Still my body is super stressed although I have given it so much love the past months’.

‘Maybe it was to much for a 21 year old girl to run Transvulcania 48k and WMTRC 45k with less then one month in between. I am super sad because running and training means so much’, the athlete added.

‘But now, just living a normal life is difficult. I have spent more hours in bed than on my feet this past month. Maybe one day I will be back. Or I won’t. I hope my body can recover from this’, her post concluded.

As reported in the SAF statement, Emilia’s funeral will take place with only her closest friends and relatives attending. A memorial page dedicated the the talented young athlete allows members of the public to write words of remembrance.

They are also invited to make a donation to Suicide Zero , an organisation that works to reduce the number of suicides.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at


    • Andrew

      23 November 2023 • 04:44

      ‘extremely high heart rate. (120-150 bpm) just standing up’ sounds likely to have been Post Orthostatic Cardia Syndrome (POTS). More people need to be aware of this, especially as it’s a common symptom of Long Covid. Symptomatic treatment can help.

      • Darz

        25 November 2023 • 04:51

        You actually believe that don’t you?

        • Ron

          01 December 2023 • 13:22

          I’m sure he does. Condolences to Andrew’s family as well, beforehand.

    • Vijay Iyer

      24 November 2023 • 01:55

      What a tragedy, on so many levels. As the other commenter notes, there is quite a likelihood from her description that Emilia was battling POTS and possibly other commonly comorbid conditions. A lack of awareness about POTS, even among doctors, likely contributed to feelings of isolation that exacerbated her mental challenge. For those seeking to honor her memory with a donation, I believe Dysautonomia International is likely among the best options to address the root cause of this tragedy.

    • Mary

      28 November 2023 • 13:15

      Sounds as if she has ME/CFS which has the cardinal symptom of post exertional symptom exacerbation and has POTS as a key symptom. The suicide rate is very high for ME/CFS as standard blood tests etc look ok BUT the patient is very ill.

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