In yet another tragedy to hit the world sporting community in recent months, former cyclist and national coach Jack Schiavone passed away on Sunday, leaving the citizens of Malta in mourning.
As reported by LovinMalta news, at the age of 52, Schiavone died suddenly of undisclosed causes.
Kirill Micallef Stafrace, who had experienced a unique interaction with Schiavone while serving as the sole medical doctor for the Tunisia Mediterranean Games, described him as a selfless and “unique human being.”
Stafrace recalled when he became extremely ill during the Games with food poisoning and high fevers and spoke of Schiavone’s ‘role switch’, which saw him care for Stafrace during his illness.
“For three days, he constantly checked on me, helped me out in any way he could. I don’t think I ever thanked him enough, but we always had a good laugh when we remembered our reversal of roles,” Stafrace wrote on Facebook.
Tributes for Schiavone, a prominent figure in the world of cycling, have poured in, remembering him as a man with a ‘big heart’ who made a significant contribution to the sport.
Malta Cycling Federation secretary-general Joe Bajada said in a statement:
“Jack was known by many as a person with a big heart and who loved the sport of cycling from a very young age.”
“Many cyclists know Jack as a bubbly person with a great sense of humour. Jack was a two-time national road champion in 1999 with Melita CC and in 2002 with Birkirkara St Joseph. He also won the national time trial championship in 2003 and 2004 with Pamsons club.”
Stafrace said, “Jack the man, no the gentleman, will be missed by all who had the honour of knowing him.”