Joao Tomasini Schwertner has died at the age of 61 due to COVID-19 ©ICF

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) has paid tribute to its late Board member Joao Tomasini Schwertner of Brazil, who has died at the age of 61 following complications related to COVID-19.

A long-serving administrator in canoeing, Tomasini had been President of the Brazilian Canoe Federation since 1989, becoming a member of the Brazilian Olympic Committee the same year.

ICF President José Perurena paid tribute to his colleague and friend after his death.

"Over many years Joao has been a tireless worker driving the growth and development of canoeing, not just in the Pan American region, but throughout the world," said Perurena.

"Through Joao, canoeing in his region always had a strong voice at the ICF table.

"His passion for the sport was obvious to all, and the many hours he devoted to the sport will never be forgotten.

"He was also a valued friend of everyone in the canoeing family.

"His passing from this dreadful virus will be felt strongly throughout the paddling world."

ICF President José Perurena contracted COVID-19 in March 2020 ©ICF
ICF President José Perurena contracted COVID-19 in March 2020 ©ICF

Perurena also contracted COVID-19 in March, while former ICF vice-president Marcel Venot of France died in May due to the virus.

Tomasini previously served as President of the South American Canoe Federation from 2010 to 2018 and had been the President of the Pan American Canoe Federation since 2017.

He first joined the ICF Board in 1994, serving as a vice-president from 1998 until 2008 and again from 2010 to 2014.

Tomasini tested positive for COVID-19 on December 17 and was admitted to the Marcelino Champagnat Hospital in Brazil the next day.

He spent the next 30 days in hospital before his death.