Dutch legend Johan Cruyff dies following battle with lung cancer

theScore Staff

Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff has died at the age of 68.

"Cruyff died peacefully in Barcelona, surrounded by his family after a hard fought battle with cancer," read a statement from the Johan Cruyff Foundation.

(Courtesy: Johan Cruyff Foundation)

Cruyff, who announced his diagnosis in October, was a three-time Ballon d'Or winner and starred with Ajax, Barcelona, Feyenoord, Levante, and a pair of North American Soccer League teams during his illustrious 19-year playing career.

Related - Remembering a legend: Top 5 Johan Cruyff moments

Cruyff won 10 combined league titles with Ajax (eight), Barca, and Feyenoord. He was also a European champion with Ajax during a run that saw the Eredivisie side capture three straight European Cups from 1971-73.

He enjoyed a successful career on the international stage as well, making close to 50 appearances for Holland during an 11-year spell with the national team. Cruyff came close to lifting silverware with the Oranje in 1974 when the Netherlands finished second to West Germany in the World Cup.

Barcelona, where Cruyff also served as the team's manager for eight years and helped the Spanish giants capture four straight La Liga titles, offered its condolences:

FIFA president Gianni Infantino described Cruyff as one of the greatest players of all time and said his loss has created a massive void in the football world.

"Johan Cruyff was a magnificent player, one of the greatest players the world has ever known," Infantino said in a statement. "A symbol of elegant play. An inspiration. A source of admiration for fans. He has marked football history for ever. I'm very saddened by his death. He w‎ill be terribly missed. Both personally and on behalf of FIFA and the world football community, I would like to extend my sincerest condolences to his family and friends."

Cruyff was upbeat in the weeks after he was diagnosed with cancer, saying it was a battle he was "convinced he would win." He also provided a positive update in January, saying he was "2-0 up in the first half" of his fight against the disease.

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Dutch legend Johan Cruyff dies following battle with lung cancer
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