Ron Taylor, the Australian marine conservation pioneer who helped film some of the heart-stopping, iconic underwater footage in the movie Jaws, has died. He was 78.
Wildlife conservationists led the tributes for Taylor, who died at a private hospital in Sydney yesterday.
He had battled myeloid leukaemia for two years, the ABC reported.
"Today is a very sad day, Ron Taylor, long-time Australian shark conservationist has passed away," the Australian Anti Shark Finning Alliance wrote on Twitter.
Ron Taylor was a former champion spearfisherman and avid diver, who turned to conserving and filming marine life after an underwater epiphany. "I just thought, ‘What am I doing down here killing these poor, defenceless marine creatures?’ he told the ABC in 2005. "So I just packed up, went home – didn’t even weigh my fish in – and never went back to another spearfishing competition.
Later, Taylor and his wife, Valerie, spent years filming great white sharks and trying to persuade a wary public that the much-feared creatures were beautiful animals worthy of respect.
In 2003, Taylor was named a Member of the Order of Australia, one of Australia’s highest civilian honors, for his conservation work. Valerie received the same honor in 2010.
Taylor is survived by his Valerie.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/shark-expert-ron-taylor-dies-in-sydney-20120909-25mb8.html