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Man Who Collapsed At Redondo Beach Triathlon 'Died A Glorious Death' Says Son

Participants begin the swimming leg of the Nautica Malibu Triathlon at Zuma Beach. (Photo by Matthew Simmons/Getty Images)
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A 48-year-old San Pedro man who collapsed while competing in the Redondo Beach Triathlon died doing what he loved, says his family.

Michael Giardino was finishing the swimming leg of the race near the Redondo Beach pier on Sunday when he collapsed, The Daily Breeze reports.

Giardino complained of shortness of breath after finishing the swimming leg of the race. Paramedics performed CPR and transported him to Little Company of Mary Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the Redondo Beach Patch. Cause of death was not immediately known.

He had previously participated in the Redondo Beach Super Bowl Sunday 10K in Redondo Beach and the Santa Anita Derby Day 5K, according to his family. This was Michael's second triathlon, his son, Andrew, told Patch. "He does 5Ks, he does 10Ks—he does those all the time."

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Ironically, he had taken up running after the death of his father. "My brother died three years ago and he was overweight," Giardino's uncle told the Daily Breeze. "My nephew did not want to be overweight and be like his father."

"It really flipped the switch," Andrew told Patch. "It made my dad go into this 'health mode' and ever since then, he's been training for life … He lived every single day of his life up to [Sunday] to the fullest."

"My father died a glorious death because he was doing what he loved," his son said to Patch. "He was one of the best people you've ever met on this planet."

The swimming competition was the first leg of the Redondo Beach Triathlon and is followed by a 6-mile bike ride and 2-mile run.

Andrew said he fully expected his father to finish the competition: "Last Wednesday, he did a swim, a 15-mile bike ride and a 5-mile run in the same day."

Giardino's uncle, who is also named Michael, told the Daily Breeze, "He worked out almost every single day. I was stunned. For someone who worked so hard to get into excellent shape, you never would have expected this to happen."

Michael Giardino is survived by his wife, Tammy; two children, Amanda and Andrew; and a sister, Francine.