Marseille have confirmed the sad passing away of former president Pape Diouf, becoming the latest figure in the footballing world to lose his life to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 68-tear-old Senegalese was hospitalized in his home country after contracting COVID-19 before becoming Senegal’s first fatality. The journalist and former, who is also a French citizen, was set to head to Nice for treatment. Unfortunately, his situation quickly deteriorated, preventing him from traveling, before tragically claiming his life.
Diouf was the first black president of top-flight European club, being in charge at Marseille from 2005 to 2009. He guided the club to two second-placed finishes in Ligue 1 and two French Cup finals, and helped build the Olympiens side that would go on to win the French top-flight title in 2010.
“It is with great sadness that Olympique de Marseille learned of the death of Pape Diouf,” the club wrote on social media after his tragic death.
It is with great sadness that Olympique de Marseille learned of the death of Pape Diouf.— Olympique de Marseille (@OM_English) March 31, 2020
Pape will remain in the hearts of the Marseillais forever, as one of the great architects in the club's history.
We send our sincerest condolences to his family and loved ones. pic.twitter.com/oASMjZJ8rI
“Pape will remain in the hearts of the Marseillais forever, as one of the great architects in the club's history. We send our sincerest condolences to his family and loved ones.”
Several players took to Twitter to send their condolences. These include former Marseille stars Franck Ribery and Samir Nasri, both of whom worked under Diouf during his Vélodrome reign, and Ghana’s Ayew brothers.
Profondément attristé d'apprendre la perte de Pape Diouf.— Franck Ribéry (@FranckRibery) March 31, 2020
Toutes nos pensées et nos prières à sa famille. https://t.co/2FEE7zOaez
Absolutely heartbroken— Jordan Ayew (@jordan_ayew9) April 1, 2020
Rest in Peace Pape Diouf - My uncle, father, grandfather & godfather.
My mentor I can’t thank you enough for all you did for me, Andre, my father and my family. Today is one of the saddest days of my life to hear of your passing. xx pic.twitter.com/vPIVnv3MkP
MON PAPA,GRAND PERE ,MON MENTOR RIP PAPE DIOUF pic.twitter.com/3niiMvzyBt— André Ayew (@AyewAndre) April 1, 2020
Peu de personnes dans le monde du football m’ont touché ou on eu un impact comme tu as pu l’avoir dans ma vie ou dans ma carrière. Tu as toujours été un mentor, tu as été mon premier agent, tu as été mon président… https://t.co/NXbPUxwzlj— Samir Nasri Official (@SamNasri19) March 31, 2020
Très triste d'apprendre la disparition de Pape Diouf... il laissera un souvenir unique à Marseille. Pensées émues pour sa famille et ses proches pic.twitter.com/hS6uTQhwHg— Florian Thauvin (@FlorianThauvin) March 31, 2020
Diouf becomes the latest figure in the beautiful game to lose his life to the ongoing pandemic. Real Madrid recently mourned the loss of former president Lorenzo Sanz while Turkish icon Rustu Recber is in critical condition after contracting COVID-19.