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Saturday, 16 September, 2000, 23:52 GMT 00:52 UK
Samaranch mourns wife's death
Samaranch hopes to return to the Games
Samaranch dashed back to Spain to be with his wife
The Olympic flag will fly at half mast on Sunday following the death of Juan Antonio Samaranch's wife - but the IOC president is expected back in Sydney before the Games end.

Samaranch, 80, flew to Barcelona on Saturday - the first time he had departed a Summer Games before it had ended in his 20-year tenure as head of the IOC.

But Maria Teresa Salisachs-Rowe, 68, died from cancer before he arrived at her bedside.

As a mark of respect, the flag will fly at half-mast for 24 hours from noon Sunday, the IOC said.

Mass

IOC senior vice president Dick Pound, who has taken over Samaranch's duties temporarily, said a mass would be held in Sydney on Monday.

Despite the personal setback, Australian IOC vice president Kevan Gosper said he expected Samaranch to return to the Games.

"It depends on the personal circumstances and his responsibilities but I believe he will be back," said Gosper. "He's entirely committed. He'll see out his mandate."

Salisachs-Rowe rarely accompanied her husband on his many international trips but has attended all the Olympic Games during his years in office - except Sydney.

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See also:

15 Sep 00 |  Olympics2000
Spectacular start for Sydney Games
13 Sep 00 |  Olympics2000
Samaranch fears fresh revelations
15 Sep 00 |  Olympics2000
Sydney's biggest party yet
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