, one of the most influential businessmen in European soccer over the last 20 years, died Saturday of leukemia at the age of 63. The
French-born Swiss billionaire was president of French club Marseille.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter
said Louis-Dreyfus "contributed hugely to the
game of football, not only with his visionary business sense, but especially with his heart."
Louis-Dreyfus, cousin of American actress Julia
and a graduate of Harvard's business school, was a director of major sportswear companies adidas and Salomon and CEO of advertising company Saatchi & Saatchi.
took over OM in 1996 and kept it afloat after being stripped of its 1992-93 league title and demoted to the second division for the match-fixing scandal.
Louis-Dreyfus reportedly pumped
$300 million of his own money into Marseille, which hasn't won a major trophy since then but it is France's most popular club.
Louis-Dreyfus' reign was not without controversy.
In 2006, he was given a 10-month suspended prison sentence in a scandal involving 10 people embezzling money through alleged hidden bonuses in the transfer of 15 players.
a deal to sell Marseille to Florida-based Canadian businessman Jack Kachkar
fell through at the last moment.
Only recently, popular club president
, a former player agent, was fired by Louis-Dreyfus after five years on the job.