A New Zealand influencer and mother of five famous for her inspirational fitness posts has died.
Bodybuilder and fitness writer Raechelle Chase – who at one point had more than 1.4million followers on Facebook and has been described as an ‘internet sensation’ – died earlier this month.
Her cause of death is not known at this stage.
The Auckland mum had five children, including seven-year-old twins.
In 2011, Ms Chase became the first Kiwi to qualify for the Figure Olympia bodybuilding event and competed at a series of international meets.
Most recently, she worked as a fitness model who had graced magazine covers on at least 14 occasions.
She also worked as an influencer who offered online fitness mentoring.
News of her death sparked an outpouring of tributes, led by her eldest daughter Anna Chase.
‘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’, she wrote, according to Stuff.
‘I miss her immensely and that love won’t ever fade’.
Friend Keith O’Connell describer her death as ‘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.’
She was last on social media on September 30.
‘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.
She also shared photos from a magazine photo shoot on Facebook late last month.
Ms Chase had five children and was married to her husband Chris Chase for 14 years, until their separation in February 2015.
Chris Chase was jailed for 10 years after being arrested in 2012 for his role in distributing a drug similar to MDMA.
In 2016, Ms Chase wrote an article for Stuff detailing her ‘toxic’ relationship she fell into after she left her husband.
‘The relationship I was in taught me many things about what I don’t want, and what I need to steer very clear off. It wasn’t just me that suffered, it was my entire family,’ Ms Chase wrote.
‘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.’
She also described how raising her children alone had left her feeling ‘the most confident and empowered’ she had felt in a long time.
At the time she was nine months’ pregnant with her two youngest children.
Ms Chase’s death is being investigated by the New Zealand Coroner.
‘Given the recent nature of the death, no further information is available at this stage,’ a spokesman for the New Zealand Ministry of Justice said.