Former IOC president Samaranch dies

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The Independent Online

Juan Antonio Samaranch, the man who was president of the International Olympic Committee for 21 years until 2001, has died aged 89.

Samaranch is credited as the man who brought professional sport into the Olympics.

IOC president Jacques Rogge, who succeeded Samaranch, said: "I cannot find the words to express the distress of the Olympic Family."

Samaranch died in hospital in his home town of Barcelona two days after being admitted with coronary problems.

Rogge added: "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."