01/24/2015 03:58 EST | Updated 03/26/2015 05:59 EDT

Toller Cranston, figure skating innovator, dead at 65

Toller Cranston, one of figure skating's greatest artistic innovators, has died in Mexico at the age of 65.

The news was confirmed by Cranston's sister-in-law who spoke to his sister, Sharon Cranston. The cause was an apparent heart attack in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where Cranston has lived for a number of years.

Fashion writer and television host Jeanne Beker expressed her shock and sadness in a tweet earlier Saturday.

Cranston won a bronze medal at the 1976 Winter Olympics at Innsbruck, Austria and was at the forefront of pushing for change in the figure skating world to recognize artistic expression.

Two years earlier, Cranston won a bronze medal at the World Championships and was a six-time Canadian champion.

Following the '76 Olympics, Cranston launched a lengthy career as a professional and later supported himself as a renowned painter and artist.