Thierry Gilardi, the main soccer and rugby commentator at French television channel TF1, died after suffering a massive heart attack at the age of 49.
France will hold a minute’s silence before Wednesday’s exhibition match against England as a mark of respect for the beloved French television commentator who died on Tuesday. Many in France consider Gilardi to be the best sports commentator of his generation. He was known for the energy and enthusiasm he brought to his work. In France, Thierry Gilardi’s voice is inseparable from the memories of important French soccer and rugby matches of the past, especially the World Cup match between France and Italy in 2006, where he eloquently lamented the infamous head butt by Zidane that probably cost France the championship. The incident, but also Gilardi’s commentary during it, lived on in the French consciousness for months. He also recently did the commentary for the Rguby World Cup in 2007 in France for French TV network TF1.
Gilardi’s colleagues in French broadcasting were unanimous in their shock at the news and also their opinion of the man, calling him “a real pro” and “just a really nice guy.” Raymond Domenech, trainer for the France rugby team, was so overcome with emotion he could not even comment. The French Football Federation (FFF) also said the France players would wear black armbands in their Euro 2008 warm-up match at the Stade de France in memory of Gilardi, who brought so much pleasure and excitement to spectators of their sport.
Gilardi was the presenter of the popular show Téléfoot every Sunday and he was a TF1 commentator for the matches of CL and France matches since 2005 and also Rugby for the World Cup in France. Before joining TF1, he presented and commentated the matches of Ligue 1 on Canal + and CL matches from 1986 to 2005. He was also the vice-president of the French Rugby Club Stade Français.
Gilardi was said to have been very excited about his role in announcing the upcoming August Olympic Games in Bejing for audiences in France. He leaves behind a wife and three children.
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