BEIJING — Renowned Chinese swimming coach Xu Guoyi passed away of cerebral cancer at the age of 50 on Sunday.

Xu, who formerly was a professional swimmer, retired in 1993 and became a coach. His proteges include Olympic champion Ye Shiwen, world champions Xu Jiayu, Fu Yuanhui and rising star Li Zhuhao.

Xu was diagnosed with cerebral cancer at the end of 2015, but he concealed the disease in order not to affect his swimmers’ preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. He was back to work only five months after the surgery.

Fu Yuanhui wrote a poem Sunday on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, to lament Xu’s death.