By Nick Butler

Richard Schabel died in his sleep aged 55 last week ©Getty ImagesMarch 27 - Tributes have been paid to Britain's four-time Paralympic thrower Richard Schabel after he died at his home last week following a successful sporting and administrative career. 

In a 20-year career Schabel competed at every Games from Atlanta 1996 to Beijing 2008 and achieved best results of fourth place finishes in the F50 club throw in Atlanta and in the F32/51 discus at Athens 2004.

He also won discus gold at the World Championships in Birmingham in 1998 and finished four London Marathons between 1995 and 2000 before coming inside the top ten in both of his events at his final Games in Beijing.

He also served as vice-chairman of the British Wheelchair Athletics Association and unsuccessfully bid to qualify for what would have been a fifth Games at London 2012. 

It is believed the 55-year-old died in his sleep in his home in East Grinstead due to a brain haemorrhage after being discovered last Friday (March 21), although the full details of his death are yet to be disclosed. 

Paula Dunn, the British Athletics Paralympic head coach, was among those to pay tribute to Schabel when she expressed her "great sadness" to hear of his passing.

"He was a great ambassador for Para-athletics and it is a huge loss to the sport," she said. 

Similar tributes were paid by the British Paralympic Association as they "offered their condolences to the friends and family of Richard Schabel."

A statement added: "Throughout his sporting career, Richard represented his country on four occasions at the Paralympic Games and his achievements were an inspiration to many.

"He will be greatly missed."

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