Top Canadian swim coach Randy Bennett has died after a battle with cancer.

Bennett led the Canadian swim team for London 2012 and was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year. Later, that diagnosis was revised to metastatic malignant melanoma. He was 51.

Here in Canada, Bennett worked out of Victoria, coaching Ryan Cochrane to his two Olympic medals. As head coach of Victoria’s High Performance swim centre, Bennett was responsible for Olympians Hilary Caldwell and Alec Page. His swimmers won all four Canadian swimming medals at 2013 FINA World Championships.

Coaching was his passion and his life, and I know he has had a profound impact on my life both in and out of sport. I would not be the athlete or person I am today without him. The values and imagination Randy instilled in all of his athletes will live on and that’s a testament to his love of swimming. – Statement from Ryan Cochrane

Going back to earlier in the decade, Bennett also worked with Marianne Limpert, Rick SayJulia Wilkinson, and many other talented athletes. “Randy faced cancer, malignant melanoma, with the same tenacity with which he coached,” said national team physician Steve Keeler, who was treating Bennett with a team of specialists. “Despite the rapid progression of his disease Randy remained focused on his family and the athletes he coached.  His strength through this journey was impressive.”

The swimming and sport community, both in Canada and worldwide responded immediately to news of Bennett’s death: