A memorial service was held today following the death of Patrick Baumann at the age of 51 ©IOC

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach paid an emotional tribute to Patrick Baumann at a memorial service held today following his sudden death at the age of 51.

Bach and International Basketball Federation (FIBA) President Horacio Muratore spoke at the ceremony, held on the 3x3 basketball court on the Urban Park here.

It was attended by numerous IOC members, FIBA officials and athletes, all of whom paid their tributes and respects to a man considered one of the most influential figures in world sport.

Baumann, the secretary general of FIBA and an IOC member since 2007, passed away after suffering a heart attack yesterday.

The Swiss official had attended a sport climbing demonstration before he collapsed and was rushed to hospital, where he died a short while later.

Bach said it was a "sad day for all of world sport" as he praised Baumann's contribution to the Olympic Movement, his passion and determination.

"We are all still in shock," Bach said.

"It is hard to believe that Patrick, who was so full of life, is suddenly and unexpectedly taken from our midst.

"All of us who had the privilege to know Patrick as a friend, valued him for his wonderful sense of humour and his optimism. 

"I am sure everyone of us gathered here today can remember a moment, when we were touched and inspired by Patrick's positive energy. 

"Sometimes one may have felt that he was not only able to inspire others but that he inspired even himself with his energy.

"As a sports leader, Patrick brought the same enthusiasm and passion to everything he did. 

"He was both a jovial friend and a determined leader who passionately believed in the cause of the Olympic Movement."

IOC President Thomas Bach and FIBA President Horacio Muratore both spoke at the ceremony ©IOC
IOC President Thomas Bach and FIBA President Horacio Muratore both spoke at the ceremony ©IOC

Baumann held numerous high-ranking sporting roles, including President of the Global Association of International Sports Federations, President of the Winter Youth Olympic Organising Committee for the Lausanne 2020 Games and the Coordination Commission chair for the Los Angeles 2028 Summer Olympics.

In addition, he was a Council member of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) and an Executive Committee member of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

He was touted as a potential IOC President in the future.

"Without Patrick and his unwavering belief to innovate and modernise, we would not have 3x3 basketball on the programme of the Youth Olympic Games or of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020," added Bach.

"The passion of the athletes that we see on this court is also a reflection of Patrick’s passion. 

"This is why I am sure that Patrick wants the athletes to continue with their Youth Olympic tournament. 

"This is why we want to honour Patrick on this very basketball court. 

"As a symbol of his achievements. 

"As a symbol for what he believed in with all his heart. 

"As a symbol of the sport that he loved so much.

"Patrick showed time and again why he was such an inspiring leader for all sports. 

"He had the unique ability to unite people behind his vision, to bring them together with his passion for sport."

Bach called on the sporting world to celebrate Baumann's life "even in this moment of sadness".

"This is what Patrick would want us to do," the IOC President added.

"We are grateful for his legacy. 

"We feel privileged to have had him among us and to call him a friend. 

"Together, we promise Patrick today that we will carry his legacy and enthusiasm to the future. 

"Farewell, Patrick. 

"We will make you proud."

FIBA President Horacio Muratore gave a glowing tribute to Patrick Baumann during the service ©IOC
FIBA President Horacio Muratore gave a glowing tribute to Patrick Baumann during the service ©IOC

Muratore also offered a glowing tribute to a man who he said was a "visionary" and a "true game-changer" both for FIBA and the world of sport.

Baumann became secretary general of FIBA in 2002 and helped the 3x3 format gain a place on the Olympic programme, while also overseeing numerous governance changes and other developments within the organisation.

"We all knew Patrick as FIBA's secretary general, IOC member, and all the other important roles he took as a true believer in sport and the power it has to change lives," said Muratore.

"But Patrick was a lot more than that. 

"He was a very close friend of mine and of so many others in the basketball family and the wider sport community.

"FIBA is forever indebted to Patrick.

"Without doubt we would not be where we are today were it not for everything that he did. 

"His unwavering commitment, tireless work ethic and pure passion for basketball mean he will forever have his place in FIBA's history.

"Thanks to Patrick, FIBA is today a very strong organisation, with a clear vision: to make basketball the world's most popular sports community.

"Patrick has shown us the way, and we will carry his torch to achieve that goal, drawing on his inspiration to guide us every step of the way. 

"This is his legacy and even these most heartfelt words cannot express basketball's gratitude.

"Rest in Peace, Patrick."

The ceremony came on a day where a multitude of sporting officials far and wide offered their condolences and paid tribute to Baumann.

He is survived by his wife and two children.