Nancy Morin has died at the age of 44 ©Getty Images

Tributes have been paid to Canada’s Paralympic goalball champion Nancy Morin following her death at the age of 44.

Morin competed at five Paralympic Games during her career.

She was a member of the Canadian team that earned gold in women’s goalball at Sydney 2000, before defending the title four years later in Athens.

Morin also competed at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.

The Paralympic Games were among 33 international competitions Morin contested during her career, with Canada featuring in 18 finals and eight bronze-medal matches at those events.

This included winning bronze medals at the Guadalajara 2011 and Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games.

She was also elected to be Canada’s flagbearer at the 2009 Americas Championships at Colorado Springs in the United States.

International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) President Jannie Hammershoi, who played against Morin during her career, paid tribute to the Canadian.

"IBSA is deeply saddened by Nancy’s death at such a young age," Hammershoi said.

"Players like her, especially with her work in the community combined with international success, show what is possible when you play as part of a team.

"Her contribution meant that Canada were unbeatable and inspired a generation of players.

"We share the sadness of the wider goalball family and pass on our deepest sympathies to her family and all who knew her."

Nancy Morin competed at five Paralympic Games and won two gold medals ©Getty Images
Nancy Morin competed at five Paralympic Games and won two gold medals ©Getty Images

As well as Morin’s goalball career, she became involved with the Quebec Blind Sports Association (QBSA) Board.

Morin helped the organisation to stage fundraising events and spoke in schools to introduce the sport of goalball.

"At this time of COVID-19, we expect to receive a call from a relative informing us of a death," QBSA’s executive director Nathalie Chartrand said.

"But getting a call announcing the death of an athlete who retired less than two years ago is a nightmare."

No cause of death has been given.

Morin is survived by her parents, Claudette and Claude Morin, and brother Martin.

"The Canadian Paralympic Committee is deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Nancy Morin at the young age of 44," the Canadian Paralympic Committee said.

"She was a strong leader, a loyal and passionate teammate, and a dedicated representative of the Canadian Paralympic community, sharing her experiences with others to help grow the sport of goalball.

"Our thoughts are with all of Nancy’s family, friends, and the entire goalball and Canadian Para sport communities during this time."