Former Marseille president Pape Diouf has died after contracting coronavirus, the French football governing body LFP said on Tuesday.
Diouf presided over Marseille between 2005 and 2009, during which time the club finished on the Ligue 1 podium three times and reached two French Cup finals.
"The [LFP] learned this evening with immense sadness of the passing of Pape Diouf at the age of 68," the league said in a statement.
"Pape Diouf will be remembered as a charismatic, endearing and passionate leader.
"In this moment of immense sadness for French football, the LFP offers its condolences to his family and those close to him, and to Olympique de Marseille."
The 68-year-old, who was born in Chad to Senegalese parents, had been hospitalised in Dakar and placed under respiratory assistance on Saturday after his illness became serious.
"Olympique de Marseille learned with great sadness of the death of Pape Diouf," a club 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."
The club had earlier revealed he had been suffering from COVID-19.
"Olympique Marseille wishes to give its full support to its former president Pape Diouf, affected by Covid-19," Marseille had tweeted just before the LFP statement came out.
A former sports journalist for weekly newspaper La Marseillaise, Diouf was the agent of several leading players - including Marcel Desailly, Samir Nasri and Didier Drogba - before taking the presidency at Marseille in 2005, becoming the first black president of a first-tier European club.
Diouf's death is the latest blow to a football world that has been stalled as the coronavirus crisis spreads across the globe.
Last week, former Real Madrid president Lorenzo Sanz died aged 76, after being hospitalised with coronavirus.
Australian Associated Press