Former Marseille president Pape Diouf has died at age 68 due to complications from Covid-19.
Diouf had been hospitalised in his native Senegal and was placed under respiratory assistance on Saturday after his illness became serious.
The Senegal native's relatives had hoped to transport him to France to receive further medical attention but he passed away before he was able to leave Dakar.
Diouf served as president of Ligue 1 club Marseille between 2005 and 2009, before he was succeeded by Jean-Claude Dassier.
During his time in charge, Marseille were a consistent presence near the top of the Ligue 1 table, though they never clinched a league title. Their highest finish during Diouf's presidency was second and their lowest was fifth.
Prior to his time in charge of the Ligue 1 side Diouf worked as a journalist, covering the exploits of Marseille's football team among other sports.
Eventually Diouf went into player representation, becoming an agent and further solidifying his relationship with Marseille.
Football world mourns
Diouf represented some major names in the football world as an agent, including Joseph-Antoine Bell, Marcel Desailly, Basile Boli, William Gallas, Samir Nasri and Didier Drogba.
His relationship with Marseille grew as players he represented, like Desailly, Gallas, Nasri and Drogba all played for the Ligue 1 side.
That eventually led to Diouf being named Marseille's president in January 2005, as the Senegalese took over for Christophe Bouchet.
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The football world paid their respects to Diouf after the tragic news.
It is with great sadness that Olympique de Marseille learned of the death of Pape Diouf.
Pape will remain in the hearts of the Marseillais forever, as one of the great architects in the club's history.
We send our sincerest condolences to his family and loved ones. 🖤 pic.twitter.com/oASMjZJ8rI
— Olympique de Marseille (@OM_English) March 31, 2020
Très triste d'apprendre la disparition de Pape Diouf... il laissera un souvenir unique à Marseille. Pensées émues pour sa famille et ses proches 🙏🏻🖤 pic.twitter.com/hS6uTQhwHg
— Florian Thauvin (@FlorianThauvin) March 31, 2020
Beaucoup de tristesse en apprenant le décès de Pape Diouf... Un grand Président mais surtout un immense Homme, qui aura toujours dignement représenté l'OM et ses valeurs. Une grande perte pour le foot français et le continent africain. Reposez en paix 💙 pic.twitter.com/3lqI7VksOv
— Benjamin Mendy (@benmendy23) March 31, 2020
Plus aucune place pour la rivalité ce soir. Très triste d’apprendre le décès d’un monument de notre football, mes condoléances à la famille Diouf.
— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) March 31, 2020
Tu as été mon président et c’est avec le cœur gros que je dois te dire au revoir tu es parti trop tôt jamais je ne t’oublierai allah y rahmou Pape Diouf
— Samir Nasri Official (@SamNasri19) March 31, 2020
We offer our sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of Pape Diouf, a great president of French football. pic.twitter.com/ScsV37aGo7
— OL English 🇬🇧 (@OL_English) March 31, 2020
Diouf's death is the latest blow to a football world that has been turned upside down as the coronavirus crisis spreads across the globe.
With Euro 2020 and the Olympics postponed by a year, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin admitted last week that the current football season could be ruled void.
"If we don't succeed in restarting, the season will probably be lost," Ceferin told La Repubblica.
"There is a plan A, B and C. The three options are to start again in mid-May, in June or at the end of June.
"There is also the possibility of starting again at the beginning of the next [season], starting the following one later. We will see the best solution for leagues and clubs."
Though the summer is now open for leagues to play on, the trajectory of the virus is still unknown and it may not be plausible for leagues across Europe to finish their seasons.