Johan Cruyff, the legendary Dutch football striker and coach, has died of lung cancer aged 68, according to a message posted on his website.
The site said he had died in Barcelona, surrounded by family.
As a player, Cruyff was the embodiment of Dutch "total football", a fluid style of play focused on ball possession and rapid passing, and involving all members of the team in both attack and defence.
He emerged as one of the world's greats in the early 1970s when he helped Ajax Amsterdam win three European Cups in a row from 1971-73, and he was named European Footballer of the Year in 1971, 1973 and 1974.
He joined Barcelona for a then-world record transfer fee of $2.0 million, and it was the Catalan club that later defined his coaching career as he led them to their first La Liga title in nearly 15 years in 1974.
He was also a key player in the great Netherlands team that reached the 1974 World Cup final, when a global audience saw him perform the now-famous "Cruyff turn", in which the player tries to deceive a defender by hooking the ball behind their own leg before swerving away in the direction of the ball.
Cruyff had been a heavy smoker, and had had heart surgery in 1991. His death comes less than six months after he announced that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.
A selection of tweets expressing the admiration Johan Cruyff enjoyed in the football community
Just read about the passing away of Johan Cryuff.Will always be remembered as a legend who gave football more than just a turn.
— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) March 24, 2016
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) March 24, 2016
— Johan Cruyff (@JohanCruyff) March 24, 2016
How sad to hear the news of the death of Johan Cruyff. One of the greatest ever player and coach who will never be forgotten. — Mihir Bose (@mihirbose) March 24, 2016
Gutted about Johan Cruyff .. My youth was spent trying to 'Cruyff Turn' my pals..... #RIPJohanCruyff
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) March 24, 2016
"Quality without results is pointless. Results without quality is boring" - Johan Cruyff. — Janusz Michallik (@JanuszMichallik) March 24, 2016
Dutch soccer legend Johan Cruyff has died at 68. Some of the highlights from his incredible career: pic.twitter.com/ZiT1X6N6D1
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 24, 2016
Sad to hear that Johan Cruyff has died. Football has lost a man who did more to make the beautiful game beautiful than anyone in history. — Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) March 24, 2016
Johan Cruyff: So good they named a turn after him. RIP.pic.twitter.com/YpyzVICP9m
— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) March 24, 2016
Remember watching 1974 World Cup & Johan Cruyff doing his famous turn. We were straight out in the street after trying to do it ourselves. — Orbinho (@Orbinho) March 24, 2016
1/2 RIP Johan Cruyff, true football royalty. I don't think anyone has ever influenced the game as much as he has done. #JohanCruyff
— Vincent Kompany (@VincentKompany) March 24, 2016
A true Great that’s been taken far too soon. RIP to the legend that is Johan Cruyff. Your legacy goes on. https://t.co/PvBZPkKkc9
— Liam (@OffsideLiam) March 24, 2016
Thank you for everything Mr Cruyff . You were too great to ever be forgotten . R.I.P
— Samir Nasri Official (@SamNasri19) March 24, 2016
'Cruyff painted the chapel & Barcelona coaches since merely restore or improve it' Pep Guardiola #JohanCruyff
— Chris Mitchell (@chrismbbcsport) March 24, 2016
Iniesta: "It's a very sad day for Barça and for football. He's a key person in our success. My most sincere condolences to his family."
— barcastuff (@barcastuff) March 24, 2016
Very sad news about the death of legend Johan Cruyff. What an amazing player, Coach, teacher and person he was:https://t.co/fwXNRlB3IO
— Jürgen Klinsmann (@J_Klinsmann) March 24, 2016
With Reuters inputs
First Published On : Mar 25, 2016 13:00 IST