An international swimming star Kenneth To, who was training for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, died Monday, hours after he reported feeling unwell at a practice in Florida, Hong Kong Sports Institute announced. He was 26.
The elite swimmer who won a silver medal for Australia at the 2013 World Championships including six medals for Australia at the 2010 Youth Olympics in Singapore and gold in the 400-metre medley, passed away at the age of 26 after complaining he felt ill while training in Florida.
‘(To) felt unwell at a training session and was taken to hospital where sadly, he passed away,’ the Hong Kong Sports Institute said on Tuesday.
‘Kenneth was known as a truly warm person, funny and kind.
The exact cause of his death remains unknown.
Swimming Australia national coach Jacco Verhaeren paid tribute to Kenneth, describing him as an ‘exceptional teammate and versatile athlete.’
‘We are all very shocked and saddened by Kenny’s passing and wish his family and friends strength at this incredibly difficult time,’ he told Fairfax.
‘He was a much-loved team member with a determined spirit and wonderful personality, so he will be missed by all his peers, coaches and staff.’
Kenneth To, who was born in Hong Kong, moved to Australia with his family when he was two-years-old. In 2016, he transferred his nationality to swim for Hong Kong and was training ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo before his sad death.