Former International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge has died at the age of 79, it was announced Sunday. At the time the Paralympic Tokyo 2020 Games are going on at the Japanese capital, the IOC's flag will fly at half-mast.
The Belgian Rogge served as the IOC’s eighth president from 2001 to 2013.
“First and foremost, Jacques loved sport and being with athletes and he transmitted this passion to everyone who knew him. His joy in sport was infectious,” IOC President Thomas Bach said Sunday.
“He will be remembered particularly for championing youth sport and for inaugurating the Youth Olympic Games (in Buenos Aires),” he added. “The entire Olympic Movement will deeply mourn the loss of a great friend and a passionate fan of the sport,” Bach went on.
Rogge, a former orthopaedic surgeon, was a rugby international and a 16-time Belgian national champion as well as a world sailing champion. He represented his country in sailing at 1968, 1972 and 1976 Games.
He went on to become President of the Belgian and European Olympic Committees before being elected IOC president and served as a Special Envoy for Youth, Refugees and Sport to the United Nations after his IOC presidency.