FIBA (International Basketball Federation)

Patrick Baumann, Fiba official who helped rescue Gilas Pilipinas from world ban in 2007, dies of a heart attack, aged 51

IOC president Thomas Bach pays tribute to the Swiss national, who passed away in Buenos Aires, Argentina while attending the Youth Olympics

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 October, 2018, 8:44pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 October, 2018, 8:44pm

Philippines basketball on Sunday joined the world in mourning the death of Swiss Patrick Baumann – the man who twice rescued the sport in the country from a global ban stemming from leadership struggles.

Baumann, 51, died in Buenos Aires, Argentina while attending the Youth Olympic Games. His death was confirmed on Sunday by basketball world governing Fiba, for which he has been secretary general since 2002. He was also an IOC member and leaves behind a wife and two children.

Fiba president Horacio Muratore said in a statement: “On behalf of the entire Fiba family, I wish to express our deepest sympathies and pass on our condolences to Patrick’s wife Patricia, their family and loved ones. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this very difficult time.

“Patrick was a lot more than Fiba’s secretary general and an IOC member. He was a very close friend of mine as well as to countless people in the basketball family and the wider sport community.”

According to the statement, Baumann suffered a heart attack in Bueno Aires. Apart from Fiba and IOC, Baumann was head of SportAccord and president of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations and was seen as a rising star in the Olympic movement and a potential future IOC president.

The Philippines Basketball Association (SBP) is indebted to Baumann for his role in helping to form the country’s governing body in its present incarnation, which has been in place since 2007.

As Fiba deputy secretary general in 2001, Baumann helped the Philippines resolve a leadership dispute between two factions – Tiny Leteral and Graham Lim on one side against Lito Puyat and Freddie Jalasco on the other.

In 2007, as secretary general, Baumann again rescued the Philippine governing body after it was suspended by Fiba in the wake of its expulsion by the country’s Olympic committee for its

“continuing defiance and intransigence”.

Fiba backed the basketball body and Baumann was one of many involved in the lengthy process to elect a new committee and leader, with the SBP finally being formed under president Manny Pangilinan in February 2007 – almost two years after the body was suspended.

“It is with great sadness that I share the tragic news of the sudden death of Fiba secretary general Patrick Baumann in Buenos Aires, Argentina during the Youth Olympic Games,” said SBP president Al Panlilio, who met Baumann in China at a Fiba summit two weeks ago.

“He shared his vision in how to make basketball the biggest sport globally. He is a big loss to the basketball community. I offer my deepest condolences to the family.”

IOC president Thomas Bach said: “This is a great shock which has hit us all very hard. We can hardly believe this terrible news. Particularly since, even today, we have seen him working hard, as we always knew him, for the sport he loved.

“We lose a young and sympathetic leader full of hope who was standing for the future of sport. Our thoughts are with his wife, his children and his family.”

In memory of Baumann, the Olympic flag is to be flown at half-mast at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland and at the IOC headquarters at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires for three days. The IOC will also hold a memorial in the Youth Olympic Village.