(ATR) Gian Franco Kasper, the long-time president of the International Ski Federation (FIS), has died at age 77.
Kasper had sent a message to the FIS family during the federation's Congress on June 4,advising that he was admitted to the hospital due to breathing problems the weekend before and had since moved from the emergency unit to the cardiological unit where he was currently undergoing tests.
According to a FIS statement released on Saturday, he never left the hospital.
Here is the complete statement from the federation.
"It is with a heavy heart that FIS announces its former President Gian Franco Kasper has passed away.
Kasper served FIS for 46 years, including the last 23 years as the FIS President. He retired from that role a little more than a month ago before his successor, Johan Eliasch, was elected at the 52nd International Ski Congress on 4th June.
Just days before the Congress Kasper, 77, was admitted the hospital, where he remained until he passed away on Friday evening.
Kasper was a member of the International Olympic Committee from 2000-2018 and was a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency since 2003.
Furthermore, he was President of the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF) and was an IOC Executive Member from 2016-2018. At the IOC Session in Buenos Aries in the Fall 2018, Mr. Kasper received the Olympic Order and was named an IOC Honorary Member.
Additionally, Kasper was a GAISF/SportAccord Council Member, Vice-President of the IOC Olympic Channel Services and the IOC Coordination Commissions for the Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City 2002, Torino 2006, Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014, PyeongChang 2018 and Beijing 2022. He served as Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for the first edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck 2012 and was a member of the 2nd Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer 2016.
"Gian Franco Kasper was unique in the international sports community," said Johan Eliasch, newly elected FIS President. "He built FIS from a small federation, to the undisputed leader in winter sports, a testament to his vision and work ethic. I had the privilege of knowing Gian Franco for 25 years and shared many fond moments and stories with him. His understated nature and his quick wit will be deeply missed within FIS and the international sports world. On behalf of the entire FIS family, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the Kasper family".
The St. Moritz native started his career as a journalist for his local Courier de St. Moritz and then moved into the tourism industry. But it wasn’t long before the former FIS President Marc Hodler tapped Kasper to become the FIS Secretary General, the first step in a long and illustrious career. He held that post until being elected as Hodler’s successor in 1998.
Kasper was married and had one son. He lived in Thun and maintained a residence in St. Moritz."
Kasper had stayed on for an extra year as president because the Covid-19 pandemic prevented FIS from holding a Congress in 2020 to elect his successor.
Shortly after he announced in November 2019 that he planned to step down with two years remaining on his term, Kasper spoke with Around the Rings in an exclusive interview looking back at his career.
Part one of the interview can be found here.
Part two of the interview can be found here.