A popular New Zealand health and fitness influencer described as an ‘Internet sensation’ has died suddenly at the age of 44, leaving behind five children.
Bodybuilder and fitness fanatic Raechelle Chase, boated over 1.4million followers on Facebook.
Chase became the first Kiwi to qualify for the Figure Olympia bodybuilding event in 2011, and competed at a series of international meets.
She also worked as a fitness model and was featured on at least 14 magazine covers.
Chase was also known for her online fitness mentoring, and quickly became a highly sought after health and fitness influencer.
The news of her sudden and unexpected death sparked a massive outpouring of tribute online.
Her eldest daughter, Anna Chase, wrote:
“She was supportive, kind-hearted and always had the best advice for us.”
“She was a wildly driven woman with ambition and has inspired millions of people around the world.”
“I miss her immensely, and that love won’t ever fade.”
Friend Keith O’Connell said her death was “so sudden, so unexpected.”
“Not going to lie, very few things in my life hit me as hard as your passing… You had so much left to live.”
“So much love to give,” he wrote earlier this month.
“You were, still are, and always will be one of the kindest, beautiful souls I will ever have experienced.”
Chase’s last social media post was on September 30.
She posted on Instagram:
“Growth can be painful, change can be painful, but nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong,” she posted on Instagram.
In 2016, Raechelle revealed her experience leaving a “toxic and abusive” relationship after separating from her husband, Chris Chase.
As The Sun reported:
Chris was put behind bars for ten years after being arrested in 2012 for his role in distributing a designer drug, similar to ecstasy, around New Zealand.
“The relationship I was in taught me many things about what I don’t want and what I need to steer very clear of,” she wrote on Stuff.
“It wasn’t just me that suffered, it was my entire family.
“So if you know you are in an abusive relationship and you don’t have the courage to leave, do it for your children.
“Grab hold of whatever you need long enough to survive crawling out of that hole because I promise you it will be worth it.”