David Forbes has died at the age of 88 ©Getty Images

Australian David Forbes, who won the sailing gold medal in the star class at the Munich 1972 Olympic Games, has died at the age of 88.

Forbes finished first with team-mate John Anderson for the top spot on the podium, followed by Sweden's Pelle Petterson and Stellan Westerdahl for silver and Willhelm Kuhweide and Karsten Meyer of Germany for bronze.

He also won the 5.5m World Championship in 1970, the 1974 Sydney to Hobart race and 10 Australian Championships.

Forbes represented Australia at three Games, debuting at Mexico City 1968 before making his last appearance at Montreal 1976.

An America's Cup appearance was also on his record, as he was a part of the Greta II crew in 1970.

Sport Australia Hall of Fame chair and lifetime friend John Bertrand paid tribute to him, more than 50 years on from meeting Forbes in 1969.

David Forbes competed in the 1970 edition of the America's Cup ©Getty Images
David Forbes competed in the 1970 edition of the America's Cup ©Getty Images

"He was the most naturally-gifted sailor I ever met," said Bertrand.

"David's career both in sport and business is one of celebration. 

"He was an Olympic gold medallist in 1972 when there was no coaching and very limited support, he took on the world's best and got the job done.

"His business career was outstanding, building the soft drink company Shelley Ecks, which developed many modern in-house technologies and was eventually sold to Coca Cola. 

"Right up until the end his mind was as sharp as a whip, he was completely tuned into environmental technologies, including solar energy and even nanotechnologies.

"He was a friend and mentor to so many, including myself and the rest of the Bertrand family. 

"He truly was a wonderful human being."

Forbes was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1988 as an athlete member for his contribution to sailing.