Soccer legend Johan Cruyff passed away from cancer at the age of 68, his family said on Cruyff’s website. .
He played for Ajax and Barcelona, and was a three-time European footballer of the year award winner. Cruyff also coached Barcelona to its first European Cup victory in 1992, and won four consecutive La Liga tournaments in the early nineties with the Spanish club. Cruyff and his Dutch teammates are known for their unique ‘total football’ style—where players inter-change roles mid-match—which became popular in the 1970’s and still influences modern soccer today.
Cruyff was diagnosed with lung cancer in October 2015. He was a longtime smoker, but gave it up in 1991 when he underwent heart surgery. Even with cancer, Cruyff seemed optimistic—just last month, Cruyff was quoted saying he was up “2-0” on cancer, and that it would be a match he’d win.
Tributes from footballers and fans on Twitter have been pouring in.
He also helped the Dutch reach the World Cup finals in 1974, losing to Germany 2-1. It was during that World Cup was where Cruyff first unveiled his signature move, the “Cruyff Turn” in a match against Sweden.
Now an iconic move, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) even has a video on how you can replicate the move.