Honey Lanning, nationally recognized ?swim instructor of the stars,? passed away a week after being diagnosed with cancer. She was 64.

The Finnish-born instructor and owner of Lanning & Associates was well known for her staunch belief in teaching babies and toddlers to swim. She openly disputed the American Academy of Pediatrics? philosophy that children under age 4 should not swim.

Lanning taught approximately 5,000 children and adults to swim in her 35 years of teaching, including children of celebrities such as Eddie Murphy, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, Blair Underwood, and Keenan Ivory Wayans. She also appeared with Pinkett-Smith on ?Entertainment Tonight? to discuss water safety for children.

In 1997, she released an award-winning instructional video, ?Swimming for Toddlers Ages 1-3.?

Lanning began swimming in Finland?s lakes at age 3. She moved to the United States three years later, where she continued swimming through high school. By the age of 17, she had received water safety instructor certification at the University of Chicago. She also swam competitively at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

Her husband of 45 years and high school sweetheart, David Lanning, is starting a foundation in her name to teach underprivileged children to swim.