Former silat world champion Abdul Kadir Ibrahim died suddenly last Friday night. He was 41.
The former national athlete and coach leaves a wife and six children - with the youngest born less than a month ago.
He was pronounced dead at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital after suffering what is believed to be a heart attack.
It is understood that Mr Kadir, a former national exponent and coach, had collapsed at the void deck of his block in Woodlands. He was on his way home after a jog at about 10pm.
He had no previous history of heart disease.
His grieving family, for whom he was the sole breadwinner, declined to be interviewed when The Sunday Times visited their home yesterday.
In his time fighting in the silat gelanggang (ring), Mr Kadir represented the nation in seven SEA Games from 1993 to 2005. He was the 1999 gold medallist in the men's 65kg-70kg category.
But the highlight of his career came in 1997, when he was crowned world champion at the age of 24 in Kuala Lumpur.
Mr Sheik Alauddin, chief executive of the Singapore Silat Federation (Persisi), said: "It's a loss to us. He was always very cheerful and smiled a lot, even when competing.
"He was always very nice to everyone and the kids always looked up to him."
He added that Persisi will be collecting donations on behalf of the family.
After retiring as an athlete in 2005, Mr Kadir took up a coaching role with the national team and was in charge of the junior developmental teams for the next three years.
His fighting style - graceful and agile instead of being aggressive - endeared him to many and many aspiring fighters looked up to him as a role model.
Added local coach Abdul Raziz: "He was a very nice man, very cool. He was the kind to always offer motivation to his teammates.
"I am shocked. Nobody expected this to happen to him because he was a health enthusiast and he always looked after himself very carefully."
Mr Kadir, who took up a job as a taxi driver some years after leaving the national fold, had in the past three years undergone a personal transformation, said sources.
He quit his beloved sport and turned more to religion, making a short pilgrimage to the Arabian peninsula.