Olympic swimming great David Wilkie dies aged 70 after cancer battle

Olympic swimming great David Wilkie dies aged 70 after cancer battle

British Olympic swimming champion David Wilkie has died at the age of 70.

His family announced that Scottish great Wilkie, who won 200m breaststroke gold for Great Britain in Montreal in 1976, died peacefully on Wednesday morning following his battle with cancer.

Wilkie’s family said in a statement released to the PA news agency: “It is with great sadness that the family of David Wilkie MBE announce that he died peacefully surrounded by his family this morning, following his brave battle with cancer.”

Wilkie won 200m breaststroke gold in Montreal in 1976, as well as two Olympic silver medals and three world titles.

Born in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1954 to Scottish parents, Wilkie won his first major medal with a bronze at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, representing Scotland.

His first World Championship gold followed in 1973 in Belgrade, and two years later he won both 100m and 200m breaststroke titles in Cali.

Wilkie was crowned Olympic champion after an extraordinary performance in Montreal, where he broke the existing world record by over three seconds.

The record, one of five he achieved in his career, would stand for five years, but Wilkie would not bid to better it, choosing instead to retire one month after the Games at the age of 22.

Wilkie was awarded an MBE in 1977 and subsequently became a successful businessman. He is survived by his wife, Helen, and children Natasha and Adam.

Adam Wilkie said: “My dad was a truly wonderful man, father, and husband. He achieved so much in his life and those that knew him will never forget his love for life, kindness, and wonderful sense of humour.”

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