“I remember Blanca with fondness,” said Alberto Tomba, a three-time Italian Olympic skiing champion. “I raced for many years with her brother, Luis. It’s a terrible loss.”
In addition to the bronze medal in Albertville, Fernandez had 20 World Cup podium finishes in her career.
Spanish politicians tweeted condolences. Spain’s caretaker prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, tweeted his “warmest affection” for Fernandez’s family.
“Without a doubt she was one of our pioneers,” tennis player Garbine Muguruza said on Twitter. “An example to every woman.”
Spanish two-time Formula One champion Alonso called Fernandez a “legend” in Spanish sports.
“A great reference,” said figure skater Javier Fernandez, whose bronze medal last year at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics was the first for a Spaniard since Fernandez’s feat in 1992.
Some soccer clubs also released statements lamenting Fernandez’s death, including Valencia and Real Madrid.
Police declined to confirm the body’s identification to The Associated Press, saying formal procedures had to be followed before an official announcement was made. But the search was called off after the discovery of the body.
Fernandez was last spotted on surveillance video at a shopping mall on August 24.
More than 200 police officers on foot and horseback, firefighters, forest rangers and hundreds of volunteers had combed the steep pine-forested area for days looking for Fernandez.