Paralympic Angela Madsen was found dead while trying to paddle from California to Hawaii.

Madsen, 60, was pronounced dead at 11 p.m. PST on Monday, June 22, when the US Coast Guard discovered her body several hours after last contacting someone, according to a letter posted to RowOfLife. .org, a website created to document the trip, and signed by Madsen’s wife, Debra Madsen, and filmmaker Soraya Simi.

Paraplegic, Angela Madsen was one of the six-time Guinness World Record holder who was in the midst of attempting her next feat: becoming the first and oldest paraplegic woman to row alone from California to Hawaii.

“He told us over and over that if he died trying, that’s how he wanted to go,” Madsen and Simi wrote in their letter.

The two wrote that paddling a solo in the ocean was Madsen’s biggest goal and that she was willing to take that risk because “being at sea made her happier than anything else.”

“Angela was a warrior, as fierce as she seems,” they wrote. “A life forged by incredible difficulties, she overcame everything and defended the exact path that she imagined herself since she was a child.”

A tragic journey

Madsen’s trip was the subject of a documentary film, and was frequently recorded with his wife Debra and the satellite filmmakers.

Madsen carried all his food and used a desalinator to make fresh water. He set a goal of paddling 12 out of 24 hours for three to four months to complete his journey, the filmmakers wrote on the film’s website.

She left Los Angeles and rowed approximately 1,114 nautical miles, which was 1,275 nautical miles from her destination in Honolulu. Madsen had been alone at sea for 60 days.

On Sunday June 21, Madsen registered by satellite and said he was going to go into the water to fix his bow anchor. After not hearing from Madsen for several hours, a search and rescue operation began. A plane was dispatched and a cargo ship rerouted to find him. The Coast Guard discovered his body, the letter said.

“A life forged by incredible difficulties”

Madsen served as a marine in his 20s when he suffered a back injury and had to undergo corrective back surgery. However, mistakes in surgery left her paraplegic.

But Madsen said she would not allow her disability to stop her while playing adaptive sports. She first rowed for the US National Team in 2002 when the paraglider made her debut at the World Rowing Championships in Seville, Spain, according to USRowing.

While with the US national team, Madsen won four gold medals and one silver medal at world championships during his career. He would go to the Paralympic Games three times, where he won the bronze in both paddle and shot put, the filmmakers said.

“I know that whatever my purpose in this life is, my body with different capacities, with physical problems, damaged and beaten seems to be the vehicle required to achieve it … I am driven with a purpose; I can suffer pain and not walk upright in this life, but when I go home, I won’t suffer the way through the door. I can live with it. If I could go back and change things, I wouldn’t. It would be nice not to have to suffer so much pain, but hey, that’s right. as it is … At first, I was angry. But now, I fully understand, “Madsen wrote in his memoirs” Paddling Against the Wind. “

Madsen was an LGBTQ activist, having served as the grand marshal of the Long Beach Pride Parade in 2015. She was also an advocate for disability rights.

CNN’s Homero De La Fuente contributed to this report.