Ben Johnson's former coach dies of cancer at 61

TORONTO (Reuters) - Charlie Francis, the disgraced former coach of scandal-plagued Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, died on Wednesday after a five-year battle with cancer, his family said in a statement. He was 61.

Johnson won the 1988 Olympic 100 meters but was stripped of his gold medal and world-record time after he tested positive for the banned steroid stanozolol.

Francis told a national inquiry that he introduced Johnson to steroids and was banned from coaching by Athletics Canada.

He trained several of Canada's top athletes before the ban and afterward worked briefly with disgraced U.S. sprinters Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery.

A Canadian sprint champion himself, Francis was considered a leading expert on sprinting despite his association with steroid use.

He died in a Toronto hospital.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue. To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)