Cape Town - South African athletics giant John van Reenen passed away at the age of 71 on Tuesday.
Van Reenen made headlines in 1975 when he broke the discus world record.
During apartheid, Van Reenen left South Africa to study at Washington State University where he was pursuing his art studies on a scholarship. He studied Fine Art throughout his athletics career, specialising in etchings.
In the 1970 season he twice broke the South African record while competing for Washington State, but his major landmark came in 1975, when on March 14, he threw 68.48m to set a new world record in Stellenbosch.
According to Netwerk24, Van Reenen's right foot was amputated in 2013 after he contracted gangrene. His leg was later also amputated under his knee.
The Afrikaans website added that he died from complications from diabetes.
RIP John van Reenen - you legend - great memories!! pic.twitter.com/Nap3qgBdD6— Schalk Burger (@skalabrak) August 22, 2018
?? RIP John van Reenen ???? 71— PJ Vazel (@pjvazel) August 22, 2018
?? Discus throw world record holder in 1975 with 68.48, threw >60m 1st time in 1968 & last time 1987, held shot put African record (19.81 in 1970), graphic artist, he never competed in major champs since South Africa was banned due to the aparteid pic.twitter.com/TcDLncLFGY