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Former IOC president Samaranch dies

Former International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch has died after being admitted to hospital earlier this week.

The Spaniard was widely regarded as the most powerful man in sport when he headed the IOC from 1980 to 2001.

An astute figure on the global stage, he oversaw the commercialisation of the Olympics as athletes were finally allowed to embrace professionalism.

Current IOC president Jacques Rogge paid tribute to his predecessor, saying: ‘I cannot find the words to express the distress of the Olympic Family.

‘I am personally deeply saddened by the death of the man who built up the Olympic Games of the modern era, a man who inspired me, and whose knowledge of sport was truly exceptional.

‘Thanks to his extraordinary vision and talent, Samaranch was the architect of a strong and unified Olympic Movement.

I can only pay tribute to his tremendous achievements and legacy, and praise his genuine devotion to the Olympic Movement and its values.

We have lost a great man, a mentor and a friend who dedicated his long and fulfilled life to Olympism.’

In recent years, he was a key part of Madrid’s failed bids to host the Olympics in 2012, which London eventually won, and 2016, which went to Rio de Janeiro.

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