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Former Marseille president Diouf dies due to complications from coronavirus

Former Marseille president Pape Diouf has died at age 68 due to complications from Covid-19.

Diouf had been hospitalised in his native Senegal and was placed under respiratory assistance on Saturday after his illness became serious. 

The Senegal native's relatives had hoped to transport him to France to receive further medical attention but he passed away before he was able to leave Dakar.

Marseille confirmed Diouf's passing with a statement posted on Twitter.

"Olympique de Marseille learned with great sadness of the death of Pape Diouf," the statement read.

"Pope will remain forever in the hearts of Marseillais as one of the great craftsmen of the history of the club.

"Our condolences to his family and loved ones."

Diouf served as president of Ligue 1 club Marseille between 2005 and 2009, before he was succeeded by Jean-Claude Dassier.

During his time in charge, Marseille were a consistent presence near the top of the Ligue 1 table, though they never clinched a league title. Their highest finish during Diouf's presidency was second and their lowest was fifth. 

Prior to his time in charge of the Ligue 1 side Diouf worked as a journalist, covering the exploits of Marseille's football team among other sports.

Eventually Diouf went into player representation, becoming an agent and further solidifying his relationship with Marseille. 

Diouf represented some major names in the football world as an agent, including Joseph-Antoine Bell, Marcel Desailly, Basile Boli, William Gallas, Samir Nasri and Didier Drogba.

His relationship with Marseille grew as players he represented, like Desailly, Gallas, Nasri and Drogba all played for the Ligue 1 side. 

That eventually led to Diouf being named Marseille's president in January 2005, as the Senegalese took over for Christophe Bouchet.

Diouf's death is the latest blow to a football world that has been turned upside down as the coronavirus crisis spreads across the globe. 

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