Belgium suffered a first death as a direct result of the record-breaking heat wave when a woman was found dead near her caravan close to the beach.
The 66-year-old woman was found by a neighbor late Thursday afternoon after she had apparently been basking in the blazing sun. The incident happened in Middelkerke on the Belgian coast as temperatures rose in the region to over 40 degrees Celsius.
Middelkerke police commissioner Frank Delva told The Associated Press that the death is "very clearly linked to the heat."
Emergency services rushed to the scene but could not resuscitate the woman.
On Thursday, Belgium endured, like many parts of Western Europe, its hottest day on record when the temperature rose to 41.8 C in Begijnendijk, 30 kilometers (20 miles) east of Brussels.