The 36-year-old has featured in the last four Olympic Games, most recently at London 2012 where he finished eighth in the K-1 1000m.
The adventure began in Sydney in 2000 where Brabants won bronze, but it was in Beijing eight years later that he made himself a household name, winning Great Britain's first Olympic gold medal in canoeing as well as adding K-1 1500m bronze to his haul Down Under too.
Brabants won World Championships gold in 2007 and has won European titles during his career, leading to him being awarded an MBE in 2009.
Competing in this weekend's GB selection events at Nottingham Brabants reached the selection criteria, making him eligible to compete internationally for Great Britain in 2013.
However he believes that continuing to compete this season, with the likelihood he would not regain his best form, would be unfair on those athletes coming through the ranks.
"This has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, but reluctantly I realise I have reached the point where I need to retire from the sport," said Brabants, who now plans to resume his medical career having put it on hold to compete at Lodnon 2012.
"It has become more obvious to me over the last few months that as much as I love the sport and would love to be Olympic and World Champion again, I've reached the point where I'm unlikely to improve or achieve the same results that I once achieved.
"As a competitive athlete with a competitive brain I cannot make this decision easily and I know lots of athletes have had to go through this.
"It is a difficult decision and it is not based on this weekend, because I have done well enough to be selected to race internationally from my results this weekend.
"But it wouldn't be right to just keep competing for the sake of competing and, when you're not getting your best results, it wouldn't be fair on my family or on the other athletes in the sport that are trying to come through."
- Sports & Recreation