Juan Antonio Samaranch Juan Antonio Samaranch

Juan Antonio Samaranch, the former president of the International Olympic Committee, died Wednesday from cardiac arrest. He was 89.

Samaranch spent his final moments at home watching tennis before being taken to the hospital in Barcelona, his son, Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., told The Associated Press.

"He watched [Rafael] Nadal's match — he loved tennis — and after the game he wasn't feeling great, so we decided to come [to the hospital] around six or seven at night," he said. "Then he collapsed. They stabilized him but he never came out. And that was the last time he was conscious."

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Samaranch, who headed the IOC from 1980-2001 and is considered a great innovator and landmark figure of international sports, was taken to the hospital three days prior to his death. He was sedated and put on a respirator, but his organs quickly shut down.

Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports and Olympics, released a statement remembering the many accomplishments of Samaranch.

"When Juan Antonio Samaranch began his IOC presidency, the Olympic Movement was beset with immense financial problems and a string of devastating political boycotts. In the decade that followed, he proceeded to bring the Olympics to absolute preeminence among international sports events and build a solid economic base for the future," Ebersol said of his good friend and partner. "He was a towering figure in the world of sport and a diplomat of consummate skill who navigated through turmoil to reunite the Olympic Movement." 

Samaranch's successor, IOC president Jacques Rogge, also expressed his grief.

"I cannot find the words to express the distress of the Olympic family," Rogge said. "I am personally deeply saddened by the death of the man who built up the Olympic Games of the modern era, a man who inspired me, and whose knowledge of sport was truly exceptional."

Samaranch's funeral is scheduled for Thursday in Barcelona.