LAUSANNE: Jacques Rogge, a stabilising president of the International Olympic Committee from 2001 to 2013, has died aged 79.

Rogge was the eighth president of the IOC and was subsequently named honorary president.

His successor, Thomas Bach, paid tribute to the Belgian orthopaedic surgeon.

Jacques Rogge . . . Olympic competitor then leader

Bach said: “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. 

“The entire Olympic Movement will deeply mourn the loss of a great friend and a passionate fan of sport.”

An IOC statement, reviewing his career in sport, said:

A life-long sports fan and an accomplished athlete, Rogge was a Belgian rugby champion and represented his country on the national team. 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.

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.

Rogge is survived by wife Anne, and leaves a son, a daughter and two grandchildren. A public memorial service will be held later this year.

WADA statement:

The World Anti-Doping Agency was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, who has died at the age of 79. Mr. Rogge led the IOC from 2001-2013 and did so with skill and passion.

WADA President Witold Bańka said: “WADA would like to recognize the tremendous contribution Mr. Rogge made both within sport and indeed wider society throughout his life, as a giant in the world of sport. He was an athlete first having played international rugby and having represented his native Belgium in sailing at three Olympic Games.

“His tenure at IOC President coincided with the early years of WADA and he played a vital role in its evolution. During that time, he gave the Agency his full and unquestioning support as he knew the importance of anti-doping for the ongoing success of sport. Without his strong leadership as an advocate for clean sport, it is unlikely WADA would have enjoyed the success it did in those early years as it managed to harmonize anti-doping across all sports and countries of the world. My deepest condolences and those of everyone at WADA go to Mr. Rogge’s friends and family, as well as all our colleagues at the IOC.”