Rob Stewart, a Canadian filmmaker and marine biologist best known for his 2006 environmental documentary Sharkwater, was found dead in Florida after going missing while deep-sea scuba diving on Tuesday. He was 37.
According to Variety, Stewart was working on a sequel to his critically acclaimed film — which earned 31 awards internationally — when he went missing underwater. His body was recovered by the U.S. Coast Guard. In a tweet, the Coast Guard wrote, “Body of diver Mr. Stewart reportedly found @ depth of 220 ft by ROV assist to Key Largo Vol Fire Dept.”
Friends, family members, and organizations tried to find the missing director before his body was found. After his death was confirmed, Stewart’s family shared a message on the Sharkwater website, writing, “Rob has been found, peacefully in the ocean. There are no words. 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. The Stewart family kindly asks that they are given some private time to grieve. Thank you everyone.”
Film distributor D Films posted a tweet honoring the award-winning director, who also made the 2012 film Revolution and 2015’s The Fight for Bala.
“It is great sorrow to hear that our friend Rob Stewart has passed. Our condolences and prayers go out to the Stewart family in this time,” they wrote.
The Toronto National Film Festival, which debuted Sharkwater over a decade ago, shared a quote from Stewart on their Twitter page.
“Conservation is the preservation of life on earth, and that, above all else, is worth fighting for.”