Marathon coach Yoshio Koide has died at the age of 80. He trained top Japanese runners including Olympic medalists.
Sources say Koide was suffering from heart problems and was in intensive care this month and died on Wednesday morning.
Koide led corporate workers' teams and trained a number of leading marathon and long-distance runners.
Among them are Naoko Takahashi, who won the gold medal in the women's marathon at the Sydney Olympics, and Yuko Arimori, a silver medalist in Barcelona and bronze winner in Atlanta.
Takahashi said in a statement that it is all thanks to Koide that she won an Olympic medal and set a world record, and made her what she is.
Takahashi also said she is truly grateful to him for patiently training her, running with her, giving her confidence, and spending his precious time coaching her.