Agneta Andersson, left, has died at the age of 62 ©SOK

Triple Olympic champion canoeist Agneta Andersson has died at the age of 62 after a long battle with cancer.

She became Sweden's most successful female Summer Olympian of the time at Atlanta 1996 when she won the women's canoe sprint K2 500 metres gold and K4 500m bronze.

The success added to her K1 500m and K2 500m titles from Los Angeles 1984 and K4 500m silver.

She also won silver and bronze at Barcelona 1992 in the K2 500, and K4 500m, respectively.

Andersson was also triumphant at the 1993 World Championship with K2 500m that capped off a medal haul on the world stage of three silvers and seven bronzes.

"Agneta was not only a great athlete, she was also a great friend," said Susanne Gunnarsson, who won Atlanta 1996 gold alongside Andersson as well as the Olympic silvers in 1984 and 1992.

"We've known each other since I was 16 and she was 18.

"We won our first medal together in 1981 at the World Championships and the last in 1996.

"We've been through a lot together.

"For the last 20 years we have spent time together without a canoe.

"Agneta fought to the end and it hurts so much."

Together, Andersson and Gunnarsson were awarded the Svenska Dagbladet gold medal in 1996 for the most significant Swedish sport achievement of the year.

Agneta Andersson, right, won seven Olympic medals including three golds ©Getty Images
Agneta Andersson, right, won seven Olympic medals including three golds ©Getty Images

The five-time Olympian Andersson made her debut at Moscow 1980 and also acted as her country's flagbearer at Seoul 1988.

Following the conclusion of her sporting career, Andersson continued to work in canoeing and served as a Board member of the Bofors Canoe Club in Karlskoga where she was born.

The International Canoe Federation has also paid tribute, stating it is "saddened" by Andersson's death.

"The International Canoe Federation sends it condolences to the family and friends of Agneta Andersson, a true legend and leader in the 100-year history of the federation," read a statement from the governing body.

Andersson is survived by her partner and their son.