He was the 1987 European Player of the Year - an award he dedicated to then imprisoned Nelson Mandela - and captained the Netherlands to the 1988 European Championship, scoring in the final.
Tall, athletic, skillful and creative, the dreadlocked Gullit was one of the most versatile and exciting European players of all times.
He scored 175 goals in 471 league games in three countries, but when he made his professional debut in 1978 at age 16 for Haarlem he played sweeper.
With Haarlem, he won the Second Division title in 1981 and promotion to the top tier.
In 1982 he moved to Feyernoord and played alongside legend Johan Cruyff. At Feyernoord he became an attacking midfielder and in 1984 won the league-cup double. He won league titles with PSV Eindhoven in 1986 and 1987 before moving to Italy's AC Milan, which he helped to its first league title in a decade while playing on the frontline.
He scored twice in AC Milan's 4-0 European Cup final win over Steaua Bucharest in 1989 and helped AC Milan repeat the next year with a 1-0 win over Benfica.
Gullit also won Italian Serie A titles with AC Milan in 1992 and 1993.
He ended his career at Chelsea, where he became player/coach and won the 1997 FA Cup
Gullit only played in one World Cup, in 1990, when the Netherlands fell to West Germany in the round of 16, but his feats at the club level helped rank him along the world's greatest players ever.
Euro 1988 final