BARCELONA (Reuters) - Former Valencia president Jaume Orti, who presided over the club’s last two Liga title wins in 2002 and 2004, has died aged 70 from lung cancer, the club said on Friday.
“Valencia CF expresses its disbelief and its dearest condolences after the death of former club president Jaume Orti this Friday,” said a statement on the club’s official website (www.valenciacf.com).
“The club has been in permanent contact with his family and wishes to express its sympathy to all those connected with the man who was president of Valencia between July 2001 and October 2004, coinciding with the club’s most successful period in its recent history. Rest in peace.”
Orti gained fame for his flamboyant celebrations of the club’s triumphs, which came with current Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez as coach.
Orti paraded around the pitch with a giant fan after the 2002 Liga triumph, and donned an orange wig after the 2004 Liga win at Sevilla’s Sanchez Pizjuan stadium, also joining the players in the shower while wearing a suit.
Before Orti’s death, the club had planned to place orange wigs on the seats at the stadium for the top-of-the-table clash with Barcelona on Sunday to show their support for his battle against cancer.
“From here in Newcastle I would like to express my sympathy to Jaume’s wife and family and friends and all Valencia supporters,” Benitez said in a video released on his website (www.rafabenitez.com)
“The moments we spent together when we won those trophies which everyone remembers so well are unforgettable for me and will always stay in my memory. Rest in peace.”
Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis