TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone died aged 61.
The Italian passed away after a short battle with acute leukaemia, with Antonio Conte cancelling his Thursday afternoon press conference to pay his respects.
Tottenham confirmed: "We are devastated to announce that fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone has passed away.
"The 61-year-old joined the Club in November, 2021, as part of Antonio Conte’s backroom staff, having previously held roles at Juventus, Catania, JS Suning, GZ Evergrande and AC Ajaccio.
"As loveable off the pitch as he was demanding on it, Gian Piero quickly became a hugely popular figure with players and staff. He will be greatly missed by everyone at the Club and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this impossibly sad time."
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Beginning his coaching career at Juventus, where he met Conte as a player, Ventrone held a role as an athletic coach from 1994 to 1999 before returning once again in 2001 until 2004 and was also part of the Italian national team staff to lift the World Cup in 2006.
Nine years later, Ventrone joined French side AC Ajaccio as assistant manager to Christian Bracconi before staying in the role under Fabrizio Ravanelli before departing for Catania, returning to a familiar role as an athletic coach.
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After less than a year, Ventrone departed Catania and his next role came at JS Suning in 2017 before joining GZ Evergrande in 2019.
Less than two months after leaving the Chinese club, Ventrone joined Conte at Spurs in November as he took over from Nuno Espirito Santo.
The Spurs fitness coach was nicknamed 'The Marine' after gaining a reputation for his tough sessions and shared a strong relationship with the Tottenham players.
After netting a hat-trick against Leicester City last month, Son Heung-min celebrated with Ventrone before discussing his relationship with the coach.
“I have a really, really good relationship with Gian Piero,” Son revealed. “His English is not perfect, sometimes he is coming with his phone and translating into English from Italian. It means a lot.Not as football-wise, I think life-wise he gives me so much advice, which I am really grateful for.
"He has been so helpful, giving me always a big hug in tough times and even great times he has always been next to me and every staff."
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