Joao Havelange, Ex-FIFA President And Sepp Blatter’s Mentor, Dies At Age 100

Joao Havelange, the man who brought the Olympics to Rio de Janeiro and big money into FIFA, has died.

The Samaritano Hospital in Rio de Janeiro announced that Havelange died early Tuesday morning, according to the Associated Press. He was 100 years old and had suffered from a respiratory infection.

The Brazilian sports executive was nothing short of a sports kingpin in the latter half of the 20th century. He’s best known for his lengthy tenures as FIFA’s president and as a member of the International Olympic Committee. However, corruption also is part of his complicated legacy.

He led FIFA from 1974 to 1998 before Sepp Blatter, with whom he worked for 17 years, replaced him at the helm of world soccer’s governing body. Havelange served as honorary president of FIFA between 1998 and 2013 but resigned that year following publication of a report that detailed his role in a $100 million bribery scandal.

Havelange led Brazil’s Olympic organizing committee, which in 2009 secured the right to host the 2016 Summer Games. Havelange resigned his membership in the IOC in 2011 amid claims he received a $1 million bribe.

Nevertheless, Rio’s Olympic Stadium bears his name — a testament to his influence. The IOC will honor Havelange by flying Brazil’s flag at half mast Tuesday.

“The IOC has agreed to a request from the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee to allow the Brazilian flag to be flown at half-mast during the day in Olympic venues.”

Thumbnail photo via RVR Photos/USA TODAY Sports Images

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