April 11, 2007 / 1:48 PM / 12 years ago

Diver celebrated in hit film "The Big Blue" dead

In this file photo French free diver Loic Leferme celebrates next to a sign which displays his apnea diving "No Limits" world record of 171 meters, off the shores of Villefranche sur Mer, on the French Riviera, October 30, 2004. Leferme, 36, died training off Villefranche-sur-Mer, near the southern city of Nice when he could not get back to the surface, the Nice nautical club said. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

NICE, France (Reuters) - French diver Loic Leferme, former holder of the world record for free diving, the sport celebrated in the hit film “The Big Blue”, has died in training, rescue officials said on Wednesday.

Leferme, 36, was training off Villefranche-sur-Mer, near the southern city of Nice when he could not get back to the surface, the Nice nautical club said.

“He stayed at the bottom. His body was then brought up by a rescue service diver but it wasn’t possible to resuscitate him,” a club official said.

Leferme was one of the world’s leading exponents of free diving, in which divers descend deep into the sea unaided by any breathing apparatus.

He held the world record for so-called “no limit” diving, until Austria’s Herbert Nitsch beat his record of 171 metres with a dive of 183 metres in August 2006.

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