Former IOC President Jacques Rogge has died at the age of 79 ©Getty Images

Former International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, who led the organisation from 2001 to 2013, has died at the age of 79.

The Belgian served as the eighth President of the IOC for 12 years, after succeeding Juan Antonio Samaranch, the Spaniard who led the organisation for 21 years.

Rogge competed in sailing at three Olympic Games in the Finn class - in 1968, 1972 and 1976.

Rogge then moved into sports administration, serving as President of both the Belgium Olympic Committee and European Olympic Committees.

Paying tribute, current IOC President Thomas Bach, who succeeded Rogge in 2013, said: "First and foremost, Jacques loved sport and being with athletes - and he transmitted this passion to everyone who knew him.

"His joy in sport was infectious.

"He was an accomplished President, helping to modernise and transform the IOC.

"He will be remembered particularly for championing youth sport and for inaugurating the Youth Olympic Games.

"He was also a fierce proponent of clean sport, and fought tirelessly against the evils of doping.

"Since we were elected as IOC members together we shared a wonderful bond of friendship, and this continued until his last days, when the entire Olympic Movement and I could still benefit from his contribution, in particular on the Board of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage.

Former IOC President Jacques Rogge served as President of the organisation for 12 years from 2001 to 2013 ©Getty Images
Former IOC President Jacques Rogge served as President of the organisation for 12 years from 2001 to 2013 ©Getty Images

"The entire Olympic Movement will deeply mourn the loss of a great friend and a passionate fan of sport."

Rogge worked as an orthopaedic surgeon and earned a degree in sports medicine.

As well as competing in sailing at the Olympics Rogge was also a 16-times national champion and a world champion in the sport.

He also competed on the international stage for Belgium in rugby.

After standing down as President of the IOC, Rogge was made an Honorary President of the organisation, while also standing as Special Envoy for Youth, Refugees and Sport to the United Nations.

The Olympic flag will be thrown at half-mast at all IOC properties for five days as a mark of respect.

A public memorial service is set to be held later this year to remember his life and celebrate his contribution to sport.

He was married to Anne and had a son, daughter and two grandchildren.