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World Cup: AP soccer writer dies three days shy of final

The chief soccer writer for the Associated Press died after collapsing in his Johannesburg hotel Thursday, three days shy of his seventh World Cup final.

Fabforum Bob Millward, 58, apparently died of natural causes, the news agency said Friday. A widely respected British sports journalist who had worked for the AP for more than 20 years, Millward also covered numerous Olympic Games and was an acknowledged expert on soccer, cricket, golf, rugby, boxing and horse racing.

"Robert was a lovely man who truly had a zest for life", AP sports editor Terry Taylor said. "He had a twinkle in his eye, a sly sense of humor and, usually, a self-deprecating remark that made him an irresistible magnet for all of us.

"We loved his company as much as he loved big assignments, especially the World Cup. We will miss his good cheer and we are very, very saddened by his loss."

At a daily briefing Friday, FIFA spokesman Nicolas Maingot read a letter to the AP from federation President Sepp Blatter.

"I will remember Robert Millward, who was a true connoisseur of sports in general and football in particular. He has always been a dedicated professional."

-- Kevin Baxter in Johannesburg, South Africa

Photo: Robert Millward. Credit: AP.

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