Johan Cruyff has died at the age of 68 after losing his battle with cancer.
The iconic player reached the World Cup final with the Netherlands in 1974, and played a key role in building both Ajax and Barcelona.
The Dutch forward was a three-time world footballer of the year, and also coached his beloved Barcelona for eight years.
A statement on the legend’s official website—the World of Johan Cruyff—confirmed that the football idealogue had lost his battle with lung cancer.
“On March 24 2016 Johan Cruyff (68) died peacefully in Barcelona, surrounded by his family after a hard fought battle with cancer,” the statement read. “It’s with great sadness that we ask you to respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief.”
The Barcelona great underwent heart surgery in 1991, having smoked heavily before that.
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He confirmed he was suffering from cancer in October 2015, and despite being optimistic about his prognosis earlier this year [on a statement on his website], the attacker has lost his battle with the disease.
Cruyff won a trio of European Cups with Ajax in the early 70s and famously debuted his ‘Cruyff turn’ during the ’74 World Cup in West Germany, where Holland were defeated by the hosts in the final despite dominating the early portion of the match.