Former UK Athletics performance director Neil Black has died ©Getty Images

Neil Black, the former performance director at UK Athletics (UKA), has died aged 60, the organisation has announced.

He served as performance director from 2012 to 2019.

UKA said it was "shocked and saddened" by the loss of Black, with the organisation saying he had passed away suddenly at the weekend.

"Neil loved the sport of athletics and dedicated his life to supporting athletes - as a world class physiotherapist, as head of sport science, and then in recent years as performance director for British Athletics," a UKA statement read.

"Since leaving the role of UKA performance director in October 2019, he had been continuing to support a number of athletes and coaches as an advisor.

"Neil will be hugely missed by those that knew and worked with him. 

"Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time."

A further statement from Black's family thanked people for messages received.

Neil Black stood down as performance director in October after seven years in the role  ©Getty Images
Neil Black stood down as performance director in October after seven years in the role ©Getty Images

"We would like to thank people for the wonderful and heartfelt messages we have received," the statement read.

"So many people have been in touch, it is clear to us how loved Neil was and this is bringing us some comfort at this time."

Black initially worked as a physiotherapist at UKA, before serving as the organisation's sports medicine and science lead.

He stepped down from his performance director role in October last year, after controversial American coach Alberto Salazar was given a four-year ban from the sport.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) banned Salazar for "orchestrating and facilitating prohibited doping conduct" during his time as head coach of the Nike Oregon Project (NOP).

Salazar was also said to have tampered, or attempted to tamper, with NOP athletes' doping control process, USADA concluded following a four-year investigation.

Black had been criticised for refusing to distance himself from the American, who coached Sir Mo Farah to all four of his Olympic titles.