The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is saddened by the passing of Brazil's Dirceu Jose Pinto, one of boccia's best. A four-time Paralympic champion, Pinto died on Wednesday (1 April) in Mogi das Cruzes, Sao Paulo, due to heart problems. He was 39.
Born in Francisco Morato, Pinto won four gold medals at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Games, in singles and doubles, as well as team silver at his home Rio 2016 Paralympics with Eliseu dos Santos and Marcelo dos Santos. Pinto, who had muscular dystrophy in the waist (thigh and abdomen), competed in the BC4 class.
IPC President Andrew Parsons shared his condolences on Twitter, writing in Portuguese: "One of the greatest boccia athletes of all time is gone. Dirceu Pinto died today of heart failure, at 39 years old. I remember when he won two gold medals in Beijing 2008, and, together with Eliseu Santos, made Brazil fall in love with the sport."
Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed) President David Hadfield said: “It was a great shock to hear yesterday that Dirceu, one of the greatest ever boccia players has passed away. Dirceu was a tremendous athlete; a multiple gold medal Paralympian and World Boccia Champion and his results speak for themselves. He will be missed by all of us and our thoughts are with his friends and family.”
Brazil's most decorated Paralympian Daniel Dias also expressed his grief on Instagram, writing: "I will miss you, my friend. I'll always remember your smile. May God comfort your family right now."