SMU Prof dies on diving trip to Malaysia

A photo of Prof Winston Koh from a Facebook page set up in his memory

A Singapore Management University professor died during a diving accident in Malaysia last week.

Professor Winston Koh, 50, who was a director at SMU's Office of Research, died on a private diving trip to Malaysia last weekend.

The news was broken to his students on Friday night when SMU e-mailed them a circular informing them of the tragic news.

“We are in touch with Winston’s family so as to extend all our assistance and support to them," read the e-mail, which was signed by SMU President Arnoud De Meyer. In the e-mail, Dr Meyer said that SMU had been notified by Prof Koh's family of his passing.

“Our university counsellors and peer helpers will be reaching out to his students, friends and colleagues. Our thoughts are with Winston’s family during this difficult period."

Prof Koh, known to his students as a sports junkie, was an avid photographer and athlete, who took part regularly in triathlons and marathons.

A Facebook page has since been set up in his remembrance, with over 1,200 of his family, friends and students "joining" the page to offer their condolences and share their memories of him.

"In memory of Winston Koh, Professor of Economics, husband, father and friend, whose zest for life was captured in his numerous and diverse endeavours."

One friend posted a photo of Prof Koh doing a 'jump shot' after completing a marathon in 2012. The note following it said that Prof Koh had wanted to explore underwater photography by taking up scuba diving as a hobby.

Other posts by students described him as an 'inspiration' and a 'fine gentleman', and one student posted up a blog post with a speech Prof Koh had made in 2010 to the graduating social sciences class.

In the speech, he encouraged his students not to 'lose that sense of adventure in life'.

"Learn something new every year: take a life-saving course (which I have), run a marathon, learn to cook, learn to dance," he wrote.