Saturday, May 28, 2011

Teenage diving champ Daley's father dies of cancer

LONDON (AFP) – The father of British teenage world champion diver Tom Daley has died from cancer, it was announced on Saturday.

Robert Daley, 40, died "peacefully" on Friday, a British Swimming statement said, after suffering with brain cancer for several years.

In February, a tumour returned five years after he was first diagnosed with the illness.

"Tom Daley's father, Rob Daley lost his battle with cancer yesterday (Friday) 27th May at 21.35 hours (2035GMT)," the statement read.

"Rob Daley, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2006 passed away peacefully with his family at his side.

"His health has been fluctuating since February but he continued to fight until the last day, defying doctors' expectations.

"The family have asked for respect to their privacy during this very difficult period."

World platform champion Tom Daley, who turned 17 last week, was with his father on Friday and he wrote on his Twitter page: "I love you so much Dad".

Robert Daley, despite his illness, followed his son's career all around the world until last year's Commonwealth Games when he was forced to remain at home after a tumour returned.

But he was in Sheffield, northern England, last month to watch Tom and synchro partner Peter Waterfield win their first gold medal together in the World Series.

Robert Daley, who wanted to watch his son compete at the 2012 London Olympics, wore a T-shirt in Sheffield which read: "Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning."

Tom said after the event: "I am his oil".

Robert Daley leaves his wife Debbie and three sons Tom, William and Ben.

Tom added on his Twitter feed: "If I could be half the dad that my dad was to me then that would be my best achievement! I love you! Xx."