Prominent sports administrator Simon Weatherill has died aged 67 while competing in the Portsea Swim Classic on Saturday.
The former CEO of several major Melbourne facilities, he is believed to have suffered a heart attack in the water.
He was found unresponsive just before midday and taken to shore but could not be saved.
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Weatherill’s death cast a pall over the race, which registered the largest field in its history.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the male swimmer who tragically passed away today,” Portsea Surf Live Saving Club president Matt Mahon said.
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Weatherill is survived by his wife, children and stepchildren.
“Simon was a passionate swimmer and former CEO of Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC) and State Sport Centres Trust,” his family said in a statement to News Corp.
“He continued to mentor and coach within sports industry and broader sectors. Swimming was very much a passion throughout his professional and personal life. He lived at Safety Beach and was a regular bayside swimmer, competing in local and international swimming competitions.”
Simon Weatherill has died aged 67. Credit: LifeSavingVic
Weatherill, who was on the board of Squash Australia, had only just shared on Friday that he was starting as an executive director of pool repair company Mattioli Aquatics.
As CEO of MSAC he played a key role in the centre’s upgrades ahead of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
Friends and former colleagues began to pay tribute on social media on Saturday.
“So sorry to hear of Simon Weatherill’s death today,” former Victorian Premier and Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett said.
“An excellent administrator, and better still a wonderful human being.
“My condolences to his family. And thank you Simon for your services to Victoria.”
Football administrator Peter Filopoulos said: “Shocked to learn about the passing of Simon Weatherill – someone I knew quite well personally and professionally. Sincerest condolences to his loved ones. Gone way too soon. Rest in peace Simon.”
Weatherill helped organise a Father’s Day Bike Ride around the Albert Park F1 track in 2015. Credit: OzChild
Jason McClintock wrote: “Vale my friend Simon Weatherill. I had the pleasure of working alongside him for over a decade which gave myself and Jasco many opportunities, from working on the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games to the Father’s Day bike ride in 2015.
“Your vision and passion for sport at all levels will be sadly missed,” he added.
“Who else would have been able to convince VicRoads to close the Grand Prix track for a bike ride in September.”