MILAN: Silvio Gazzaniga, the artist and sculptor who created the FIFA World Cup trophy, has died at home in Milan aged 95.

In 1970 the original Jules Rimet trophy, designed by Frenchman Abel Lafleur in 1930, was given to Brazil in recognition of their third World Cup triumph, in Mexico. Hence the need for a replacement.

Gazzaniga, a specialist in trophy design, won a competition between 53 artists in 1971. He described his trophy design as representing the joy, excitement and grandeur of two entwined athletes at the moment of victory.

The Italian also designed the UEFA Cup, the European Super Cup and many other major football trophies.

Gazzaniga trained as a sculptor in the late 1940s. In 2003 he was presented with the Ambrogino d’Oro, the highest distinction conferred by the local government of Milan “a prolific contribution to contemporary art in the city.”

In 2012, he was presented with an award as Commendatore dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana by then Prime Minister Mario Monti and state President Giorgio Napolitano.

Announcing Gazzaniga’s death, son Giorgio Gazzaniga said simply: “He passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home.”

The original Jules Rimet trophy was stolen from the headquarters of the Brazilian football confederation and melted down by thieves. Various copies exist including the one created when the Jules Rimet was stolen briefly in London ahead of the 1966 World Cup finals.