GENOA, Italy (AP) -- Sampdoria president Riccardo Garrone has died after a long illness. He was 76.
The Italian club announced the death on its website, without elaborating on the illness.
Having led a family oil business, Garrone purchased Sampdoria in 2002 and immediately helped the club earn promotion from Serie B to the top division.
In 2009-10, Sampdoria achieved its best result under Garrone with a fourth-place finish in Serie A. The club qualified for the final round of Champions League playoffs, although it didn't reach the group stage.
In 2010-11, temperamental striker Antonio Cassano insulted Garrone with a profanity-laced tirade and was promptly transferred to AC Milan. Cassano later made peace with Garrone and said he was "destroyed" upon learning of his death.
Sampdoria is tied for 14th this season.