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VANOC designer dead

BOB MACKIN, 24 HOURS
VANOC design director Leo Obstbaum, 40, died suddenly on Thursday. (Vancouver2010.com)

VANOC design director Leo Obstbaum, 40, died suddenly on Thursday. (Vancouver2010.com)

With heavy hearts, Vancouver's Olympic committee is mourning the death of its design director.

A Friday statement from VANOC said Leo Obstbaum "passed away unexpectedly" on Thursday night at his home. The 40-year-old Buenos Aires, Argentina-native lived in the Vancouver suburb of Port Moody with his wife and daughter.

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics website said Obstbaum moved to Vancouver in December 2005 after he fell in love with the city on his honeymoon. He was hired in May 2006 and co-managed the 24-member brand and creative services department.

Obstbaum was involved in the design of the mascots, look of the Games, torches and medals.

"Leo is everywhere you look, in every colour, every texture, in every little bit of Vancouver 2010," CEO John Furlong told staff. "Leo led and influenced the design of some of the most iconic pieces of the 2010 Winter Games. His spirit and daring inspiration has touched absolutely everything and because of him memories of the Games will live on for generations... a true enduring legacy of what went on here in Vancouver."

Obstbaum moved to Barcelona, Spain at age four and opened a fashion, music and film design shop in 1990.

Neither a cause of death nor funeral plans have been released.