MARSEILLE - Robert Louis-Dreyfus, the main shareholder in Olympique Marseille, died on Saturday, sources close to the Ligue 1 club said. "Robert Louis-Dreyfus died in a Zurich hospital where he was treated for leukaemia," the sources added. French League chairman Frederic Thiriez paid tribute to Louis-Dreyfus. "His love for soccer and his passion for Olympique Marseille were stronger than anything else." he said in a statement. "We are going to miss him sorely. My thoughts go to his family, to Olympique Marseille and to their fantastic supporters." The 63-year-old businessman and former owner of sportswear maker Adidas took control of Marseille in 1997 and according to French media reports, invested more than 200 million euros in the club. He was also the main shareholder in the Louis Dreyfus commodities group which is among the world's leading merchandisers and traders of agricultural commodities. "I'm very sad because a great businessman who also was a fantastic man died today and because he had such a love for our sport and for Olympique Marseille," Olympique Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas told radio France Info. Jean-Louis Triaud, chairman of Girondins Bordeaux, who pipped Marseille for the Ligue 1 title this season hailed Louis-Dreyfus as a man who "threw himself completely into Olympique Marseille."
5 July 2009
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