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.