Former President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Jacques Rogge has died aged 79, the IOC informed on Sunday. Rogge was the eighth President of the IOC, from 2001 to 2013, after which he became Honorary President.
He was married to Anne and leaves a son, a daughter, and two grandchildren.
Rogge, an orthopedic surgeon with a degree in sports medicine, was also an accomplished athlete. Rogge was a Belgian rugby champion and represented his country. He was a 16-time Belgian national champion and a world champion in sailing. He also competed in sailing at three editions of the Olympic Games, in 1968, 1972, and 1976, in the Finn class, the IOC said in a release.
After his career as an athlete, he became President of the Belgian and European Olympic Committees and was elected President of the IOC in 2001. After his IOC Presidency, he also served as a Special Envoy for Youth, Refugees, and Sport to the United Nations.
Remembering his life, IOC President Thomas Bach recalled: “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. He was an accomplished President, helping to modernise and transform the IOC. He will be remembered particularly for championing youth sport and for inaugurating the Youth Olympic Games. He was also a fierce proponent of clean sport and fought tirelessly against the evils of doping.
“Since we were elected as IOC members together we shared a wonderful bond of friendship, and this continued until his last days, when the entire Olympic Movement and I could still benefit from his contribution, in particular on the Board of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage,” he said in a release on Sunday.
The family has asked that their privacy be respected at this time whilst they grieve for their loss and that any communication during this period is made through the IOC.
Following a private family ceremony, a public memorial service will take place later in the year, where members and friends of the Olympic Movement will be able to remember his life and his great contribution to sport, the IOC informed.