Tributes to Rob Stewart continued to pour in over the weekend via social media as the global documentary film industry and environmentalists alike mourned the loss of one of their own.
The 37-year-old Canadian director of the award-winning documentary Sharkwater had been scuba diving near the Alligator Reef by the village of Islamorada on Lower Matecumbe Key in Florida when he disappeared on Jan. 31. His body was recovered by the U.S. Coast Guard Friday evening (Feb. 3).
A posting on the Sharkwater website confirmed Stewart’s death:
“We are so deeply grateful to everyone who helped search, and happy that Rob passed while doing what he loved. We are working on how best to honour his incredible work.”
Stewart is best known for his 2006 documentary Sharkwater, which raised awareness about the important role sharks play in their ecosystems. The film, which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival, is credited with launching the global shark conservation movement.
His second film Revolution (2012) explored ways in which young conservationists around the world are working to save the environment. Stewart was working on his next documentary, Sharkwater:Extinction, which was slated for a 2017 release.
Among those mourning Stewart’s death are:
Saddened by the passing of Rob Stewart. The world has lost a man who dedicated his life to protecting our oceans & sharks. He’ll be missed.
— Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) February 4, 2017
“Conservation is the preservation of life on earth, and that, above all else, is worth fighting for.” – Rob Stewart pic.twitter.com/C8CcZ3BE2V
— TIFF (@TIFF_NET) February 4, 2017
— Sea Shepherd UK (@seashepherd_uk) February 4, 2017
DOC mourns the loss of one of our documentary community’s heroes, Rob Stewart. Our hearts go out to his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/9Nk0XLbD4F
— DOC National (@DOCorg) February 6, 2017
— Greenpeace Canada (@GreenpeaceCA) February 6, 2017