Madsen entered the water to make repairs to her boat but as of Sunday was no longer responding to text messages, her wife said. A cargo ship discovered Madsen in the water, deceased, about halfway into her journey.
Described as a world-class rower who twice crossed the Atlantic Ocean, she competed in the Paralympic Beijing Games 2008 in rowing; shot put in the 2012 London Games, where she earned a bronze medal; and competed in shot put and javelin in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, according to Team USA.
Madsen was a Marine Corps veteran who became a paraplegic in 1993 during a back surgery following a basketball injury. She lost her job and experienced homelessness in the 1990s, Team USA reported. She began rowing in 1998 and founded the California Adaptive Rowing Program based in Long Beach, Calif.
Wine Country Marines are sponsoring a GoFundMe online fundraiser to help bring Madsen's remains back to California.