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IOC member and FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann dies of heart attack

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FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann dies (1:24)

FIBA secretary general and IOC member Patrick Baumann died while at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina because to a heart attack. SBP officials Manny V. Pangilinan and Al Panlilio paid tribute to an "ally of Philippine basketball." (1:24)

FIBA secretary general and International Olympic Committee member Patrick Baumann died Sunday after suffering a heart attack. He was 51.

"It is with great sorrow and shock that the International Olympic Committee has learned the death of Mr. Patrick Baumann, IOC member in Switzerland, in Buenos Aires," the IOC wrote in a statement. "Patrick Baumann was a central figure of the Olympic Movement."

IOC president Thomas Bach said the shocking news "hit us all very hard."

"We can hardly believe this terrible news. Particularly since, even today, we have seen him working hard, as we always knew him, for the sport he loved. We lose a young and sympathetic leader full of hope who was standing for the future of sport. Our thoughts are with his wife, his children and his family," said Bach.

FIBA president Horacio Muratore expressed his sympathies as well and said "FIBA moved forward by leaps and bounds" under Baumann's leadership.

"Patrick was at the forefront of FIBA making radical changes to its governance structure, successfully building and moving into its own state-of-the-art Headquarters outside of Geneva as well as launching 3x3, its urban discipline which became a part of basketball's program at the Olympics. He was also instrumental in the process of 'ONE FIBA', the coming together of all of FIBA's Regional Offices into one corporate group, with everyone looking and heading in the same direction for the best interests of our beloved sport. Last but not least, he led the way in the creation and implementation of FIBA's New Competition System," Muratore said.

"For all of this and for so much more, FIBA is forever indebted to Patrick. Without doubt we would not be where we are today were it not for everything that he did. His unwavering commitment, tireless work ethic and pure passion for basketball mean he will forever have his place in FIBA's history."

FIBA Central Board member and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan called Baumann's death "a devastating personal loss."

"It is with profound sadness to have learned of the unexpected demise of Mr. Patrick Baumann. I would like first to send my deepest sympathy to his family, and join them in their hour of grief. Our thoughts and our prayers are with them, and about Patrick. He passed away unexpectedly last Saturday while working in the World Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. That is the patented Baumann - extremely hardworking until the end," Pangilinan said in a statement.

"Patrick was a colossus of world basketball; his influence on the sport transcends his title as FIBA Secretary General and touches most aspects of basketball in most parts of the world. And he has been a good friend of Philippine basketball. As a friend of more than 10 years, I will always cherish those memories of meeting him for the first time in Geneva in 2007, a few months after being the SBP President; our presentation in Tokyo for hosting the 2019 World Cup. And finally our bid for 2023 in Geneva," he added.

"He was fair, objective but encouraging in our meetings - and more so in our bids. We - and FIBA - have lost our strongest pillar; it is best we carry his memory by doing the things he left us with. We all without exception will miss him. May his soul find peace and repose in the embrace and blessings of our good Lord, who has called him to His home."

SBP president Al Panlilio, who also maintained a close relationship with Baumann, expressed his feelings on the sudden death of the FIBA official.

"It is with great sadness that I share the tragic news of the sudden death of FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann in Buenos Aires, Argentina during the Youth Olympic Games. The last time I saw him in Xi'an, China during the FIBA World Basketball Summit, he was so full of life and shared his visions in how to make Basketball the biggest sport globally. He is a big loss to the basketball community. I offer deepest condolences to the family," Panlilio said in a statement.

The IOC has asked the Olympic flag to be flown at half-mast at the IOC headquarters and at the Youth Olympic Games for three days. The IOC will also hold a memorial inside the Youth Olympic Village.

Baumann was a former player, coach and referee. He joined FIBA in 1994 as a lawyer and served as FIBA deputy secretary general from 1995-2002 before he was unanimously appointed by the FIBA Central Board as Secretary General in 2002. Five years later, Baumann became a member of the IOC where he actively participated in the development of the IOC throughout his mandate as a member of several commissions.

In the first ever FIBA World Basketball Summit in China, Baumann was a keynote speaker and talked about the development of basketball globally and the role played by National Federations and FIBA in achieving growth.