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Former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch dies

Ioc_400 Former International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch died Wednesday at a hospital in Barcelona, Spain. He was 89.

Samaranch, who led the IOC from 1980 to 2001, was admitted to the Quiron Hospital on Sunday after experiencing heart trouble while watching tennis on television. He lost consciousness shortly thereafter and his condition quickly deteriorated, officials said.

"If there is a good way to die, I guess it was this way," Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. told the Associated Press. "He had a full life and career."

A former diplomat who was once a Spanish ambassador in Moscow, Samaranch was considered a defining president for the IOC, building it into a powerful organization around the globe and establishing the Olympics as a world force.

Samaranch's body will be taken to the regional government's headquarters Thursday morning so members of the public can pay their respects during the day. The body will then be taken to Barcelona's cathedral, where the funeral will begin in the evening.

IOC President Jacques Rogge will be among the dignitaries expected to attend a special ceremony Thursday morning before the funeral.

-- Chuck Schilken

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, left, and IOC President Jacques Rogge arrive for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, in February. Credit: Jim Young / Associated Press.

 
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