The second in command of the Royal Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Sir Chris Moran, who was running British air operations in Afghanistan, died on 26 May 2010 afternoon while competing in a triathlon.
Unbelievably sad, a man in his prime, a thoughtful commander, respected officer - and a versatile sportsman with a passion for running who was president of RAF Triathlon. It is not clear why he died, whether he had an undiagnosed condition or there was some unknown contributiing factor. What is clear is that he was fit. A senior RAF officer who was with Sir Christopher at the state opening of Parliament on Tuesday described him as “looking fit as a fiddle”.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Christopher Moran, 54, who held the second most senior job in the Air Force, is thought to have suffered heart failure during the 5km run at the end of the race around RAF Brize Norton, Oxon. The Commander-in-Chief RAF Command, who oversees all air operations, had completed a 400 metre swimming and 24km cycling race when he died during a running lap on the airbase. An air ambulance was called and he was taken by the helicopter to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford where he was pronounced dead.
The race was the first of the RAF Sprint Triathlon Series, the Ministry of Defence said.
His wife Elizabeth and their two daughters, who are both at university, and son, who is at school, were informed of his death last night. Friends and colleagues reacted with shock to the death of the man who was in line to become Chief of the Air Staff, the head of the RAF. “This is a major blow for the RAF,” an officer said. “Chris was being groomed for the very top and now suddenly he is gone.”
One of the most distinguished figures in the military, Sir Christopher joined the RAF as a cadet while an engineering undergraduate in Manchester and went on to become one of its top Harrier jump-jet pilots. He flew as a flight commander in the Falkland Islands and on HMS Illustrious. In 1985 he was posted on exchange duties with the US Marine Corps in North Carolina. He flew missions enforcing the no fly zone over northern Iraq in the 1990s before he became equerry for the Duke of Edinburgh. More recently he was Deputy Commander of Allied Joint Force Command overseeing Nato’s operation in Afghanistan.
See also 'Beating General Petraeus'