By Paul Osborne

IOC honorary member Gunnar Ericsson has died at the age of 94 ©IOCDecember 25 - Gunnar Ericsson, a long-time member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has died at the age of 94.

"The thoughts of the entire Olympic Movement are with Gunnar's family and with his many friends in Swedish sports," said IOC President Thomas Bach following news Ericsson had died yesterday.

"I personally will never forget the great support I received from him at the beginning of my IOC membership and in particular in preparation for chairing my first Evaluation Commission.

"Gunnar personified the Olympic values and was a true Olympic gentleman.

"The IOC will always remember him with deep gratitude and great respect."

Ericsson joined the IOC in 1965 and became an Honorary Member in 1996 after resigning to allow compatriot Gunilla Lindberg to become a member.

"It was a great honour and pleasure to work with him both in the Swedish NOC (National Olympic Committee) and internationally," said Lindberg, who called compatriot Ericsson her Olympic mentor.

"Gunnar was a lifetime member of the IOC but chose to resign from the IOC in 1996 to allow for me to become a member of the IOC.

"Gunnar was a true promoter of the Olympic values, a true sportsman, and he spent his life promoting sports both in Sweden and abroad.

"Gunnar will always be remembered as a positive, enthusiastic sports leader and for him nothing was impossible.

"He was a real gentleman who put athletes first.

"The Swedish sports movement will miss him a lot and our thoughts are with his wife Stina and his children and grandchildren."

Ericsson served on the executive board from 1988 until 1992 and headed the inspection team for the 2000 Summer Games bidding, which Sydney won.

He was chairman of the Board of Directors of the Swedish Football Association from 1970 until 1974 and vice-chairman of the Swedish National Olympic Committee.

A graduate of the Stockholm School of Economics and Royal National Defence College, Ericsson enjoyed a successful career as a businessman and politician, culminating in posts as President of the International Council of Swedish Industry from 1981 until 1984 and member of the Swedish Parliament from 1968 until 1972.

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