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João Havelange, who as president of FIFA for two decades transformed soccer’s governing body into a multibillion-dollar business and a hotbed for subsequent corruption that damaged its reputation, has died. He was 100.
Havelange, who was suffering from a respiratory infection, died early Tuesday while Rio de Janeiro was hosting the Olympic Games, according to the Samaritano Hospital.
He resigned as Fifa’s honorary president in April 2013 following an investigation into bribery allegations and was admitted to hospital the following year with a lung infection.
He was an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member from 1963 until 2011, resigning because of ill health. Havelange represented Brazil in swimming at the 1936 Olympics – the year he qualified as a lawyer – before his election to the IOC. As Fifa president he led the World Cup’s expansion from 16 to 32 teams, with six competitions held under his tenure.