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South Africans around the world continue to mourn the loss of the country’s former national record 800m record holder Marius van Heerden, who died after contracting the coronavirus.

Van Heerden, who represented South Africa at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, passed at the age of 46.

According to reports, Van Heerden became ill after he caught the virus and was unable to recover. He subsequently passed away in a hospital in Cape Town on January 22.

Van Heerden set the then South African national record of one min and 44.57 seconds at the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town on April 12, 1996. The time was the only sub-1:45 performance for him in his career.

He also had a lifetime best of 3:40.51 for the 1,500m and 3:57.49 for the mile, which were also achieved in 1996.

The current South African 800m national record was set by Hezekiel Sepeng in 1999, at 1:42.69.

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