Australia’s ABC affiliate reports TV executive and philanthropist Neil Balnaves died in an accident off the coast of Tahiti while aboard the luxury residential yacht The World.
According to the Australian Financial Review, the accident happened on Monday.
Balnaves’ death comes 20 years after he endured another serious boating accident, an event that changed the course of his life.
“I ended up having a pretty shocking accident in my late 50s,” he told ABC Australia’s Michael Cathcart in 2013. “It was a boating accident that really flattened me and I took a year to recover.”
The outlet reports that due to Balnaves being in constant pain and unable to travel as result of the first accident, he sold his TV production business and used the sizable earnings to go into philanthropy.
“What was I going to do with it?
There was that quite weird stage where you think a bigger boat would be nice, or a plane would be lovely, or a bigger house,” he said in 2013. “[But] that was pretty false, and then that brought into existence the [Balnaves] Foundation. I really came to the conclusion … that it was good to give something back to the country that have been good to me.”
According to its website, the Balnaves Foundation is a private philanthropic foundation that disperses “over $3 million annually to eligible organizations that aim to create a better Australia through education, medicine and the arts with a focus on young people, the disadvantaged and indigenous” people.
ABC reports that the foundation, established in 2006, has donated more than $40 million over its 15-year history.
Details were not immediately available as to how Balnaves — who was active in the Australian television industry between 1975 and 1986 — died aboard The World this week.
According to its website, The World is “the largest, privately owned residential yacht on earth.”
Launched in 2002, The World caters to entrepreneurial and philanthropic residents, who own the 165 separate luxury living quarters aboard.
Roxs news Source: PEOPLE