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Former head of world athletics Lamine Diack dies at 88

Former IAAF (now World Athletics) President, Lamine Diack, is dead.

The death of the 88-year-old occurred in the early hours of Friday and was confirmed by his son Papa Massata Diack, in an interview with Reuters.

Diack, before his death, was convicted of corruption last year.

The Senegalese led the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) from 1999 to 2015, making him one of the most powerful people in athletics.

But he was later found guilty of running a clique that covered up Russian doping in return for millions of dollars in bribes.

A French court sentenced him to four years in prison in 2020, but he was never jailed. He remained under house arrest in France and was later released on bail, allowing him to return to Senegal.

“He died at home around 2 a.m. of a natural death,” his son, Papa Massata Diack, told Reuters.

His funeral is due to be held later on Friday.

As reported by Reuters, Diack’s lawyers had previously said he was in poor health and would die in jail if sentenced.

While he was born in Senegal’s capital Dakar, Diack attended university in France where he was a champion long-jumper in the 1950s.

Afterwards, he coached football in Senegal and helped manage the national team, which allowed him to transition into politics.

Diack was mayor of Dakar from 1978-1980 and later served as senior vice president of Senegal’s National Assembly.

As IAAF president, he was found guilty of soliciting bribes totalling 3.45 million euros ($3.9 million) from athletes suspected of doping to cover up test results and let them continue competing, including in the 2012 London Olympics.

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