Giovanni Agnelli, the honorary president of Juventus FC and Italian carmaker Fiat, has died at 81.
Giovanni Agnelli, the honorary president of Juventus FC and Italian carmaker Fiat, has died at the age of 81, his family confirmed today.
"Giovanni Agnelli died in his house in Turin after months of illness," the family said in a short statement. "His wife Marella and daughter Margherita and her family were present." Agnelli, widely known as Gianni, had been suffering from prostate cancer. A private funeral will take place at their home at Villar Perosa.
'Passionate about football'
UEFA Chief Executive Gerhard Aigner said: “I am very saddened to hear of the death of Giovanni Agnelli, the man also known as ‘L’Avvocato' [The Lawyer]. He was a man who was passionate about sport and in particular football.
'He will be sorely missed'
“Thanks to him Juventus FC has become one of the greatest clubs in Europe with a fantastic tradition - together they have written many famous chapters in European football. He will be sorely missed.”
Edoardo Agnelli, father of Gianni and the son of Giovanni, the founder of Fiat, took charge of Juventus in 1923. Edoardo presided over a period of unprecedented success at the Turin club, Juventus winning five successive championships between 1931 and 1935, before he was killed in a plane crash in Genoa on 14 July 1935,
Yet the Agnelli family name lived on, Gianni taking control of the club in 1947. Gianni had a similar impact to his father, Juventus winning their eighth and ninth Scudettos in 1950 and 1952. Some of the Bianconeri's greatest names were at the club at that time, including Carlo Parola, Danish duo John Hansen and Karl Åge Praest, and Giampiero Boniperti, who struck 177 goals in a record 444 appearances.
Gianni stepped down in 1953, three years before his brother, Umberto, was elected president, the third Agnelli to hold the esteemed position. Juventus continued to dominate under Umberto, winning the title in 1958, 1960 and 1961. The first of those three successes saw Juventus become the first Italian club to win ten Scudettos.
A Juventus supporter since the age of five, Agnelli remained a passionate follower of the club and frequently attended training at the Stadio Comunale, the club's former stadium and current training ground. Agnelli was appointed an Italian senator for life in 1991, five years before he relinquished the presidency of Fiat to become the company's honorary president.