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USOC pays tribute to Samaranch

2010-04-22 09:26 BJT

LOS ANGELES, April 21 (Xinhua) -- The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) issued a statement on Wednesday to express sadness over the death of Juan Antonio Samaranch, former president of the International Olympic Committee.

"It is with great sadness that we learned the news today about Juan Antonio Samaranch," USOC Chairman Larry Probst said in the statement.

Samaranch died in a hospital in Barcelona on Wednesday at 89.

"President Samaranch was a great supporter of the Olympic Movement in the United States, and in particular was a great supporter of our athletes," Probst said.

"We salute this special man's preeminent place in the history of the Olympic Movement. Our hearts go out to his family, his friends, the people of Spain and most importantly to all the athletes whose lives he made better."

Samaranch was admitted to the Quiron Hospital in Barcelona on Sunday after experiencing heart trouble. The hospital said he died at 1:25 p.m. (1125 GMT).

As the IOC chief between 1980-2001, the Spaniard is the man many believe is responsible for the Olympic Games as we know them today.

One of his last public appearances was on March 4 this year when he was awarded Hispano-Chinese Foundation prize for his time as President of the Hispano-Chinese Forum, which he had led since November 2001.

Editor: Zhang Ning | Source: Xinhua