The 95-year-old Brazilian’s health deteriorated overnight after “cardiac and respiratory insufficiency,” Dr. Joao Mansur Filho of Samaritano Hospital said in a statement. He said Havelange is breathing with a ventilator and his blood pressure is being controlled with medication.
Havelange was hospitalized March 18 in Rio de Janeiro for septic arthritis, a serious bacterial infection that affects joints. But he responded well to antibiotics and had been out of intensive care for the past week. He had been breathing without a ventilator since his first week in hospital.
He successfully underwent three drainage procedures on his right ankle to help control the infection, which can spread quickly if not treated immediately.
Havelange led FIFA from 1974-98 but remains an honorary president. He resigned from the IOC late last year, citing undisclosed health reasons. That avoided a possible suspension for allegedly taking kickbacks from former FIFA marketing partner ISL.
He was the last man in charge before Sepp Blatter took over and is credited by many for helping soccer become a global game. Under his watch, FIFA grew from an organization with a staff of about a dozen to administer a multibillion-dollar sport.
He also presided over the Brazilian Football Confederation for nearly two decades, including the period spanning the country’s first three World Cup titles, in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
Havelange, who will turn 96 in May, had been with the IOC since 1963 and was its oldest member.