Teenage British Olympic diver Tom Daley’s father has died after losing a long battle with cancer.
Mr Daley, 40, died ”peacefully” from a brain tumour at 9.35pm on Friday night with his family by his side.
Within 20 minutes of his death Tom, 17, messaged his 76,000 followers on Twitter with the simple tribute: ”I love you so much dad!”.
Mr Daley’s health had deteriorated rapidly since February when a brain tumour returned five years after he was first diagnosed.
He had recently spoken of his determination to live long enough to see his son compete at the 2012 London Olympics.
But a statement released by British Swimming yesterday read: ”Tom Daley’s father, Rob Daley lost his battle with cancer yesterday 27th May at 21.35 hours.
”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.”
Mr Daley, 40, was first diagnosed in 2006 and he underwent surgery to remove 80 per cent of a brain tumour the size of a grapefruit.
But in February – just 18 months before his 17-year-old son is due to compete in the 2012 Olympics – he received the bombshell news that a second growth had been found.
Mr Daley, of Plymouth in Devon, gave up his electrician’s business in 2006 so he could accompany Tom to all his events.
He has previously spoken of his anguish that his illness could cause him to miss the London games.
Last year he said: ”I wonder if I’ll make 2012, or see grandchildren. I do think, ‘Why me?’
”London 2012 is a massive motivation for me. And I am going to be there. Tom is the oil in my lamp and he’s going to keep me burning.”
Mr Daley and wife Debbie, also have two other sons William, 14, and Ben, 11.
His death appears to have been sudden as Tom had tweeted on Friday that he was happily revising with his father ahead of an exam.
At 12.19pm he wrote: ”Revising for my theory test with my dad :)”
But his next tweet at 21.55pm read: ”I love you so much dad”.
Tom represented Great Britain at the 2008 Olympics, where he was Britain’s youngest competitor, the youngest competitor of any nationality outside the sport of swimming, and the youngest to participate in a final.
He won two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in India last October.