US Sailing issued a statement mourning the loss of Roy Edward Disney, nephew of Walt Disney, who passed away Wednesday after a long battle with stomach cancer. He was 79.
In 2008, US Sailing, national governing body of the sport, awarded Disney its Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy for his outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing in the U.S. over many years.
"Roy Disney was great for the sport of sailing. He set a high example for all of us, as a top competitor, visionary and philanthropist. Roy has inspired so many young people to follow their dream of life on the water," said Gary Jobson, president of US Sailing, in a statement.
Disney's involvement in the sport goes back decades. As a longtime, reliable supporter of the sport, his impact has been felt across the board, from youth sailing to the Olympic level of the sport and beyond.
Combining his passion for sailing and for filmmaking, Disney was a powerful voice for sailing, as well as a promoter. His documentary movie, "Morning Light," which he co-produced with his wife Leslie DeMeuse-Disney, put a new spotlight on the sport of sailing.
"Sailing with Roy was like being adopted by a family," said Stan Honey, board member of US Sailing, in a statement. "He got so much out of his crew, because his loyalty was astounding. His crew was never worried about losing their job. Instead, they just focused on winning."