Fiorentina GM Joe Barone dies at age 57 after cardiac arrest

Fiorentina general manager Joe Barone has died following a cardiac arrest, the club said on Tuesday. He was 57.

Barone fell ill on Sunday at the team hotel, shortly before Fiorentina’s match at Atalanta, and was rushed to a hospital in Milan, Italy. The Serie A match was subsequently postponed. Barone died at San Raffaele Hospital.

“It is with deep sorrow and immense sadness that Fiorentina confirms the loss of one of its figureheads, a person who has marked the recent history of the club and who will never be forgotten,” the club said in a statement.

“Everyone associated with Fiorentina are utterly devastated by the terrible loss of a man who showed great professionalism and gave his heart and soul for these colors. He was a treasured friend who always stayed strong in the happiest and, above all, the most difficult moments.

“The entire Viola world sends its heartfelt condolences to Giuseppe’s wife Camilla, his children and the entire Barone family during this time of immense sorrow.”

Barone was born in Italy but raised in New York. His wife, Camilla, rushed up from Florence on Sunday, and his four children arrived from the United States on Monday morning.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino paid tribute to Barone and his passion for Fiorentina.

“I will carry with me those wonderful smiles you gave me,” Infantino said in an Instagram story.

“You were proud of Viola Park, a beautiful sports centre. You were always moved when you spoke of Fiorentina. You improved the world of football, who loses you too soon. Tomorrow you would have celebrated your 58th birthday. Have a safe journey dear Joe, and a big hug to all the people who loved you.”

Serie A also expressed its sympathies to Barone’s family.

“Lega Serie A expresses its grief and extends its condolences to the family, [Fiorentina owner] Rocco Commisso, the team and all the staff of ACF Fiorentina for the sudden death of General Manager Joe Barone.”

Two weeks ago, Fiorentina marked the six-year anniversary of the death of captain Davide Astori, who was found dead in his hotel room after a cardiac arrest before a match at Udinese.

Fiorentina’s next match is on March 30 at home against AC Milan.