The Toronto Star's amateur athletics and Olympics reporter Randy Starkman died from pneumonia at the age of 51 on Monday at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto surrounded by his family, according to the Toronto Star.

Starkman became sick after returning from Montreal where he covered Canada's Olympic swimming trials. He was admitted to St. Michael's diagnosed with pneumonia last week. He then spent several days in intensive care.

He's just one of a kind in our world, said Mark Tewksbury, a gold medallist in the 100-metre backstroke at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona and Canada's chef de mission for London this summer, to the Star. There was no bigger advocate for Olympic sports, Olympic athletes than Randy. There's now just a huge void.

Starkman, a two-time National Newspaper Award winner, covered 12 Olympic Games and most notably exposed sprinter Ben Johnson's second positive steroid test in 1993. He began his sports journalism career with United Press Canada and was then hired by the Toronto Star after the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, the same Olympics where Johnson tested positive.

Starkman was offered more eminent beats such as the Maple Leafs, Blue Jays and Raptors over the years, but he turned them down, instead choosing to continue covering amateur athletics and the Olympics.

Randy brought to life the lives and the struggles and the careers of amateur athletes like no one else, said John Honderich, chair of the board of Torstar Corp., the Star's parent company. He was the epitome of taking an area of sports and bringing it to life and interest to all.

Besides reporting, Starkman was also involved with numerous charities, including the Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club.

Starkman is survived by his wife, Mary Hynes, now a CBC Radio host, and their daughter, Ella.

His funeral, open to the public, will take place Thursday afternoon and will be held at Benjamin's Park Memorial Chapel at 2401 Steeles Ave. W., between Dufferin and Keele Sts., at 1 p.m.