Christian Donze, director of the French swim team that celebrated its best-ever Olympic Games swimming performance in London, died today after taking part in a mountain bike race. He was 51.
Donze, French national champion in the 200-meter butterfly in 1980 and 1982, had been racing with his wife and his son at an event in Murianette in south-eastern France when he suffered a heart attack.
"The emergency services were called at around 1300, but they were unable to resuscitate him," a medical services spokesman told the media.
Donze had been the French team's national director since 2009, overseeing Gaul's latest rise in the pool to Europe's most medalled nation at the Olympic Games this year, four golds at the helm of seven medals.
"It is with profound sadness that I heard about Christian's death," said Yannick Angel, 200m free Olympic champion in London. "He was a great and kind man. He died as he lived, with a love of sport. Thank you for everything you did and what you built. Rest in peace."
Donze had been due to give a keynote speech at the international swimming federation's coaching clinic in Moscow next week.