Long-time IOC member Vazquez Rana dies at 82

MEXICO CITY (AP) Mario Vazquez Rana, a Mexican businessman and former prominent member of the International Olympic Committee, has died. He was 82.

The Mexican Olympic Committee said he died Sunday in Mexico City, but gave no more details.

''It is very sad for me to confirm the news of his death,'' said Carlos Padilla Becerra, head of the Mexican Olympic Committee. He said Vazquez Rana had been battling an illness, but did not specify.

Vazquez Rana was the long-time head of the Association of National Olympic Committees, which made him one of the most powerful players for years inside the IOC. He was also a former executive board member of the IOC and was the current president of the Pan American Sports Organization.

In 2012 he resigned all his IOC positions, and also gave up control of ANOC. The action came after it was clear he faced a possible revolt from ANOC delegates who wanted to remove him from his powerful post.

He had two years remaining in the ANOC position when he stepped down.

The Mexican had headed ANOC since 1979 and used the office as his power base. He was also a close ally of former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch.

Vazquez Rana also made enemies along the way as younger leaders pushed for him to step aside. However, IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement to The Associated Press that ''we will always remember him as a great Olympic leader.''

Bach said the Olympic flag at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne will be flown at half mast in his honor.

Aside from sports administration, Vazquez Rana was also a prominent businessman and media magnate in Mexico. He headed the Organizacion Editorial Mexicana, the country's largest newspaper company, and owned the U.S. news agency United Press International in the late 1980s.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted: ''Don Mario, friend and exemplary Mexican, he will be remembered always as an untiring promoter of sports and journalism.''

The Mexican Olympic Committee said funeral services were likely to take place in Mexico City, but did not have immediate details.

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