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Johan Cruyff dies aged 68

Former Ajax, Barcelona and Netherlands star Johan Cruyff has died at the age of 68 "peacefully, surrounded by his family after a hard fought battle with cancer".

Johan Cruyff: 1947-2016 ©Getty Images

Johan Cruyff has died at the age of 68.

Cruyff, an innovative and stylish player and coach with Ajax and Barcelona, had been diagnosed with cancer in October.

A statement on his personal website read: "On 24 March 2016 Johan Cruyff died peacefully in Barcelona, surrounded by his family after a hard-fought battle with cancer. It's with great sadness that we ask you to respect the family's privacy during their time of grief."

Cruyff on his lasting legacy

As well as helping the Netherlands to the 1974 FIFA World Cup final, he won three consecutive European Cups for Ajax between 1971 and 1973, as well as eight Eredivisie titles for the Amsterdam club, and another at Feyenoord in 1984.

With Barcelona he claimed the Liga title in 1973/74 and coached them to the 1992 European Cup, laying the foundations for their future success. Cruyff also won the European Cup Winners' Cup in charge of both Ajax and Barcelona.

UEFA General Secretary ad interim Theo Theodoridis said: "UEFA is deeply saddened to learn of the death of the legendary Johan Cruyff. The Dutch playmaker was one of the great icons of the European game and his accomplishments on and off the field shall never be forgotten. Johan received the UEFA President's award in 2014 for his contribution to the game and his commitment to entertain the public with his own unique brand of football. His passing is a huge loss to us all. Johan, you will be missed."

Michael van Praag, Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) president and UEFA fifth vice-president, added: "We have lost our greatest ever footballer, our Number 14 and a great friend of football. We are devastated. Johan took Dutch football to greater heights, and the KNVB is eternally grateful to him for this. And personally, I will miss Johan, my friend, enormously."

Michel Platini said: "Today football has lost one of its best ever players and ambassadors. I am very sad because Johan was my childhood hero, my idol and my friend. I will miss him dearly. My thoughts are with his family, and I send them my love."