Jacques Mayol är död!
Som det säger i notisen i GP från julafton 2001 hängde han sig i sitt hem. Mayol har lidit av djupa depressioner under flera år och även sökt läkarhjälp för detta.
JACQUES MAYOL, LEGENDARY FREE DIVER DEAD AT AGE 74.
"He was just one with the ocean" By Michael Friscolanti - National Post, Canada
Jacques Mayol, the first man to hold his breath long enough to descend 100 meters under water, was found dead yesterday in his Mediterranean home. The legendary diver, whose books about man's spiritual connection to dolphins are an inspiration to ocean lovers around the world, hanged himself some time on Saturday. He was 74.
Friends say "the human dolphin," who once held more than a dozen world records for his lengthy underwater escapades, was suffering from depression and had recently hinted he was considering taking his own life.
"He told me on the phone, 'I feel nothing for myself, I want to kill myself,'" said Maurizio Russo, whose company published Mr. Mayol's most noteworthy book, Homo Delphinus: The Dolphin Within Man.
"He was getting older and he just didn't want to accept that." A neighbor in the Italian town of Calone discovered Mr. Mayol's body, which was accompanied by a note in which he asked to be cremated. "I just spoke with him yesterday. I'm in a state of shock," said Stephen McCulloch, director of the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution in Florida where Mr. Mayol gave numerous lectures about the intricacies of the sea. "I hope he'll be remembered more for the wonderful things he's done rather than how his life ended." Born in Shanghai in 1927, the French national became obsessed with dolphins during the 1950s when he worked at an aquarium in Florida. He developed an especially close relationship with a female dolphin named Crown with whom he used to swim during his lunch hours even though it was against aquarium rules. It was during those secret visits with Crown that Mr. Mayol honed his ability to stay under water for minutes on end. By the 1970s, he had perfected his technique, diving 100 meters in 1976. At the age of 56, he followed that with yet another record-breaking drop, this time measuring 105 m. "He was just one with the ocean," said Mr. Russo, who was planning to call his friend this week and wish him a Merry Christmas. The record-breaking dives became part of a long-running rivalry between Mr. Mayol and Italian diver Enzo Maiorca, who was the first man to dive below 50 m without the aid of an oxygen tank. The friendly competition became the inspiration for the 1988 film The Big Blue, which Mr. Mayol co-wrote. The movie, with a cast that included Jean-Marc Barr, Jean Reno and Rosanna Arquette, was extremely successful across Europe, but it flopped at the U.S. box office.
The movie project was not Mr. Mayol's first attempt at writing. In 1983, after years of preaching a state of mind based on relaxation and yoga, he published Homo Delphinus. In the book, which argues the importance of protecting the ocean, Mr. Mayol predicts that within a couple of generations people will be able to swim at depths of 200 m and hold their breath for up to 10 minutes. Such an accomplishment appears to be possible. The free-diving record currently stands at 162 m. "For me, the sea is like a lover: the more it caresses me and the more I embrace it, the more we exchange our affections and the greater my desire to explore it deeply," Mr. Mayol once said. "Whether on the surface or at depth, I feel myself melt into the wide-open arms of our 'original' mother, the ocean. Each time I dive into the sea it cradles me and I emerge like a newborn baby." Besides his underwater feats, Mr. Mayol will be remembered for his oceanic research. The "citizen of planet ocean" delivered innumerable lectures about the sea and its role in the lives of humans. "I considered him my master," said friend and fellow diver Umberto Pelizzari, who once descended 131 m from the ocean's surface. Mr. Mayol's enthusiasm for the ocean, however, had dwindled over the past year. Mr. McCulloch, who has known "the human dolphin" for the past 20 years and considers him his adoptive father, said he recently invited Mr. Mayol to the Dominican Republic to swim with humpback whales. "I called Jacques, knowing he was feeling down and depressed," Mr. McCulloch recalled yesterday. "I said it was going to be a great adventure like the good old days. He said, "Really Steve, I've just lost my enthusiasm, and that's the way it is. I'll think about it and call you after the New Year."
A funeral service was held the same week in Livorno, Italy.
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