ISLAMORADA, Fla. – The family of Toronto filmmaker Rob Stewart says his body was “found peacefully in the ocean” Friday after he disappeared this week while diving off the coast of Florida.
A Facebook post by Stewart’s sister Alexandra asked for privacy in order to grieve.
“There are no words,” the post said. “We are so deeply grateful to everyone who helped search, and happy that Rob passed while doing what he loved.”
His death was also confirmed by a publicist for the director.
The U.S. Coast Guard said a body was found Friday about 90 metres from where Stewart, 37, was last seen. It did not immediately confirm whether the body discovered was Stewart’s.
Stewart was last seen Tuesday when he had just returned to the surface after a dive about 70 metres down near Alligator Reef in the Florida Keys.
Stewart’s diving partner lost consciousness as he got into the dive boat, his sister previously told The Canadian Press.
Coast guard Capt. Jeffrey Janszen said as others tended to that man and gave him oxygen, Stewart disappeared, and his family believes Stewart may have lost consciousness as well.
The boat quickly called for help and the U.S. Coast Guard responded.
Stewart was in Florida filming a follow-up movie to his 2006 documentary “Sharkwater” called “Sharkwater Extinction,” said his sister.
He was also known for his documentaries including “Revolution” and his memoir “Save the Humans.”
He devoted his career to warning the world about threats facing sharks, other ocean life and humanity in general.
“Sharkwater,” which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival, became an international hit and prompted people around the world to lobby their governments for bans on shark finning.
Stewart said he and his colleagues risked their lives to make the film: they visited a Costa Rican warehouse that trafficked in illegal shark fin and confronted poachers on the high seas.
“This century we’re facing some pretty catastrophic consequences of our actions,” he said in a 2012 interview with The Canadian Press.
“We’re facing a world by 2050 that has no fish, no reefs, no rainforest, and nine billion people on a planet that already can’t sustain seven billion people. So it’s going to be a really dramatic century unless we do something about it.”