Olympic gold medallist Andrew Simpson dies in sailing accident
Britain's Olympic sailing gold medallist Andrew Simpson has died following a training accident in San Francisco Bay.
Last Updated: 10/05/13 5:10pm
Simpson was in an Artemis Racing catamaran which capsized while training for the America's Cup, which is scheduled to be held in the area later this year.
The 36-year-old, who was part of a 11-man crew aboard the catamaran, was brought to shore following the incident and taken to the St Francis Yacht Club, where he was unable to be saved.
Simpson won a gold medal alongside Iain Percy in the star class in Beijing in 2008 and claimed silver with the same partner in London last year.
"The entire Artemis Racing team is devastated by what happened. Our heartfelt condolences are with Andrew's wife and family," Artemis chief executive Paul Cayard said.
Tributes began pouring in for the popular two-time Olympic medallist within hours of the tragedy being announced.
Royal Yachting Association performance director John Derbyshire said in a statement: "We're devastated by the news from San Francisco.
"Andrew is someone I've worked closely with since the age of 16 - he was a great talent, and a key figure in our World Class Programme over many years culminating in his well-deserved Olympic success.
"He was a huge inspiration to others, both within the British Sailing Team and across the nation and our deepest sympathies go out to his family at this terrible time."
Stephen Park, the RYA's Olympic manager, added: "Andrew was a fantastic sailor who got the best out of everyone he sailed with.
"He was much loved and will be sorely missed by everyone in our close knit team. Our thoughts are with Andrew's family."
Olympic silver medallist windsurfer Nick Dempsey said via his Twitter account "Going to miss you Bart", while Luke Patience, who took silver in the men's 470 class at London 2012, said: "Devastated. Bart, you are a true inspiration."
The British Sonar team, comprising John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas, also took to the social network, posting: "Devastated by the news from Artemis racing... Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bart's family and team, a true sailing legend..."
Sir Clive Woodward, British Olympic Association director of sport at London 2012, was another to pay tribute: "Totally shocked to hear Olympic star Andrew 'Bart' Simpson died after Swedish America's cup catamaran capsizes - thoughts with his family."
The British Olympic Association said in a statement: "We are devastated to hear about the tragic training accident in San Francisco which led to the loss of Olympian Andrew Simpson's life.
"Andrew was a treasured and accomplished member of Team GB, both at the home Olympics in London 2012, where he won silver with childhood friend Iain Percy in the Star class, and at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, where he won the gold medal also sailing alongside Iain.
"Andrew's talent and humour was an inspiration to others and he will be sorely missed by the Olympic Family."