Today Project AWARE Foundation and the PADI family mourn the loss of one of the ocean's greatest shark conservationists and underwater filmographers, Mr Ron Taylor.
For more than 40 years, Australian "Shark Man' Ron Taylor and his wife Valerie dedicated their lifes to conserving and filming sharks. Their marine conservation work and groundbreaking marine documentaries forced many to view sharks with a different perspective; one of appreciation, value and respect.
Sadly Ron passed away yesterday after a two year battle with myeloid leukemia.
"This is a terrible loss to the diving community and the world in general. In particular those of us that admired him and fell in love with diving through the images captured by this great man. We will miss him greatly, " said Terry Cummins, PADI Worldwide, International Vice President.
A Member of the Order of Australia, Ron first became fascinated with marine life in the 1950s as a spear fisherman, but later decided to "hunt with a camera" instead of a spear after an underwater epiphany made him question his actions.
He was the first photographer to capture images of a great white shark underwater without the protection of a diving cage. He also worked on Hollywood movie Jaws and is highly regarded as a pioneer in underwater cinematography, producing some of the very earliest underwater footage of great white sharks.
Ron went on to become one of the biggest advocates for sharks by sharing his and his wife's relationship with the sea. Their efforts to change public opinion of sharks helped ignite a passion in people to protect our valuable apex predators. His films and photography bought many interesting and educational hours to people who under normal circumstances would never have the opportunity of seeing or learning about the beauty of life beneath the ocean.
Added Cummins, "Not only did Ron pioneer underwater photography, produce great documentaries, an advocate of marine conservation, an iconic Australian, but he was also a damn good bloke. Our hearts and prayers are with you Valerie."