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Last Updated: Friday, 14 May, 2004, 18:12 GMT 19:12 UK
Atletico owner Gil dies
Jesus Gil
The controversial Gil was president of Atletico for 16 years
Jesus Gil, owner of Spanish club Atletico Madrid and one-time mayor of Marbella, died on Friday after six days in hospital, local media reported.

The 71-year-old suffered a stroke on Sunday and was admitted to hospital in Talavera de la Reina before being transferred to a Madrid clinic.

Gil resigned as Atletico's president in May 2003 after 16 years at the helm.

He had a pacemaker fitted at the start of 2003 after suffering a series of problems due to high blood pressure.

The property magnate's career at Atletico was punctuated by controversy and court appearances involving allegations of fraud from the time he took over as president in 1987, and the team became a corporation in 1992. Gil spent several short spells in prison.

It must serve as a stimulus for us because Jesus always wanted the best for his club, and wanted us back in Europe
Gregorio Manzano
Atletico Madrid coach
His tenure as president of Atletico was a stormy one, marked by his tendency to hire and fire managers with dizzying speed.

Gil made 23 managerial appointments, including such renowned figures as Italian Arrigo Sacchi and Argentine Cesar Luis Menotti. Some were fired within weeks of getting the job.

Despite Gil's interference, Atletico won the Spanish league and Cup double in 1996. During the team's celebrations, Gil stole the limelight by riding through the streets of the capital on his horse.

A string of the world's most expensive players including Italian striker Christian Vieri, Brazilian midfielder Juninho and Dutch centre-forward Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink all spent time at the Calderon.

But four years after Atletico's proudest moment they were relegated for the first time in 66 years.

Gil repeatedly fell foul of football's governing bodies for his verbal attacks on players, coaches and referees. Only three weeks ago, he lambasted Atletico players after they lost a third straight match.

He is survived by his wife, Maria de los Angeles Marin Cobo, and three sons and one daughter.


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