Devastating news .. 3-time Paralympian rower Angela Madsen was found dead on Monday after attempting to become the first paraplegic athlete to row across the Pacific Ocean. She was 60.
Madsen had dreams of being the first paraplegic, openly gay athlete and oldest woman to cross the Pacific, according to Long Beach Press-Telegram ... so in April, she left Marina del Rey in Los Angeles on a 20-foot rowboat heading towards Honolulu.
She reportedly journeyed alone -- brining only food, desalinator for water and supplies with her.
Madsen's wife Deb said on Facebook she became worried when Madsen stopped responding to her text messages on Sunday.
"When I checked the main message inbox, she had not returned any messages. When I looked at the tracking, it did not appear that she was rowing the boat, but rather that is was drifting."
Madsen's body was discovered the next day by the U.S. Coast Guard. An official cause of death has not been determined.
Madsen, who is also a U.S. Marine vet, became paralyzed in 1993 when things went wrong after a surgery on her injured spine -- which she had suffered during a basketball game at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.
She later became homeless -- which she blamed on the massive medical bills that followed. But, she found wheelchair sports -- and it changed her life.
Madsen earned a spot on the U.S. Paralympic team three times, winning the bronze medal in shot put in 2012.