Olympic gold medallist David Wilkie dies aged 70, family confirms

David Wilkie, Olympic Champion, 200 metre breaststroke, Montreal Olympics
-Credit: (Image: Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

David Wilkie, the swimming superstar from Scotland who secured an Olympic gold medal for Great Britain in Montreal in 1976, has sadly passed away at the age of 70.

His family confirmed that the cherished athlete, who won the 200m breaststroke in his inspiring career and battled cancer bravely, died peacefully on Wednesday morning.

The family's statement released to PA news agency said: "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."

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Apart from his historic gold medal win in 1976, Wilkie also claimed two Olympic silver medals, and was a three-time world champion.

Born to Aberdonian parents in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1954, Wilkie achieved widespread recognition by winning a bronze medal representing Scotland at the 1970 Commonwealth Games held in Edinburgh. His first World Championship gold came in Belgrade in 1973, and just two years later, he captured both the 100m and 200m breaststroke titles in Cali.

The pinnacle of his career was his stupendous performance in Montreal, where he broke the existing world record by more than three seconds, securing his status as an Olympic champion, reports the Daily Record.

After achieving one of five records in his career, Wilkie chose to retire just a month after the Games at the tender age of 22. His record remained unbeaten for five years.

In 1977, he was honoured with an MBE and later went on to have a successful career in business. He is survived by his wife Helen, and their children Natasha and Adam.

His son Adam Wilkies stated: "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."