Gloom for Marseille as ex-president succumbs to Covid-19

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 2 Apr 2020

Former Marseille president Pape Diouf has died aged 68 after contracting the new coronavirus.

Diouf, who was born in Chad but had French and Senegalese citizenship, led the club between 2005-2009 and helped build the side who lifted the Ligue 1 title in 2010.

He was taken to hospital in Senegal after contracting the virus there and became the country's first Covid-19 fatality.

Diouf had been due to leave for Nice on Tuesday to be treated in France, but a sharp deterioration in his health - which saw him placed on a respirator - prevented him from boarding the plane.

Diouf was also a journalist and football agent, most notably for Didier Drogba, before taking over at the Stade Velodrome.When he became president at Marseille, it was "a difficult post, where there were very few men from diverse backgrounds," said Jacques-Henri Eyraud, the club's current president. "But he fought tooth and nail, and won the hearts of thousands of supporters."

"Pape will remain in the hearts of the Marseillais forever, as one of the great architects in the club's history," Marseilles said.

Senegal President Macky Sall also paid tribute to "a great figure of sport" on Twitter.

?Davis Cup-winning former US tennis captain Patrick McEnroe, 53, said he has tested positive for coronavirus but is feeling well now.

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