Daley was born in Plymouth, Devon, England, the son of Debbie (née Selvester) and Robert Daley. He has two brothers – William who is three years younger, and Ben who is five years younger. Their father, Robert, died from a brain tumour on 27 May 2011, aged 40. His early diving hero was Canadian diver Alexandre Despatie, who won gold at the 1998 Commonwealth Games at the age of 13, and British diver Leon Taylor, who later mentored him. Daley was spotted by a coach, taking part in regular diving lessons, and was placed in a competitive squad in September 2002. His first competition was the National Novice Championships in April 2003 where he won a medal in the 8/9-year-old boys category. In September 2003, he took part in an invitational event in Southampton where he won the 1 m, 3 m and platform events, and first made his mark on the wider audience. Daley won his age group at the British Championships in the 1 m springboard, the 3 m springboard, and platform in 2004, 2005, and 2006.