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Marathon Great Passes Away

Jan 1, 2000  - Paul Quinlan

Champion Marathon swimming legend and one of Australia's most loved and respected sportsmen Des Renford, has died in Sydney's Prince of Wales Hospital after suffering a heart attack on Wednesday. He was 72.

Renford, who began marathon swimming at age 39, swam the English Channel 19 times including three times in one season. He was named "King of The English Channel" for his achievements.

Receiving an M.B.E. award from the Queen in the Australia Day Honours List, the dedicated christian was also knighted by the Pope and spent the last two decades and more of his life working for charities, in particular his most cherished Victor Chang Institute for Heart Surgery at St Vincents Hospital in Sydney.

Des swam on to the end having a massive heart attack during his swimming session at Heffron Park Olympic Pool in the Sydney suburb of Maroubra.