Olympic champion John Cuneo has died at the age of 91 ©Australian Sailing Hall of Fame

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has paid tribute to the Munich 1972 sailing gold medallist John Cuneo, following his death at the age of 91.

Cuneo passed away on Tuesday (June 2).

He competed at two Olympic Games during his career, with his debut coming at Mexico City 1968.

Cuneo won gold at Munich 1972 alongside team-mates Tom Anderson and John Shaw.

The trio emerged as the winners of the Dragon class event, with their gold medal success set up by victories in the first three races of the series.

By the last race, all they needed to do was finish the race 18th or better.

The team placed fourth in the final race to win gold ahead of second placed East Germany, whose crew finished 28 points behind the winners.

"Our current Olympians are in awe of what John achieved, along with Tom Anderson and John Shaw," said Matt Allen, AOC executive member.

"To win the Dragon class at that time was an incredible feat, given the quality of sailors competing at that time.

"John was absolutely determined to improve on the fifth place in Mexico and they prepared their boat immaculately.

"Winning those opening three races was quite remarkable.”

Cuneo won multiple Australian and World Championships during his career.

He also sailed on Southern Cross, the defeated Australian challenger in the 1974 America’s Cup campaign.

Cuneo was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1986 and in 2018 into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame.

"John was a phenomenon well ahead of this time," said John Bertrand, Sport Australia Hall of Fame chair.

"A national champion in a variety of sailing classes, he went on to win a gold medal at the 1972 Olympic Games, demolishing the world's best.

"He leaves a legacy of super high performance within his era.

“My condolences are with Silvia and the boys."

Cuneo was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen's New Year's Honours in 2018, recognising his service to sailing.

Cuneo is survived by his wife Silvia and four sons.