By Can Erozden
ANKARA (AA) - Former Italian track and field Olympian Donato Sabia died from the novel coronavirus, according to the Olympic Channel news site Thursday.
It said Sabia, 56, died Wednesday and that his father was also felled by COVID-19 in recent days.
The 1984 European Indoor Championships gold medalist, was in an intensive care unit at a hospital in the Italian city of Potenza.
Sabia participated in the 800-meter finals in Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988 Summer Olympics, placing fifth and seventh, respectively.
- Italy mourns for Sabia
The Italian sports community was deeply saddened by Sabia's death with the country's Athletics Federation chief Alfio Giomi saying: "It’s a tragedy within a tragedy. Donato was a person who you couldn’t love."
Italian Olympic Committee President Giovanni Malago said Sabia was a "phenomenon" for his achievements for Italy in two Olympic Games and 1984 European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Since appearing in Wuhan, China in December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 184 countries and regions.
Data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University shows worldwide infections exceeded 1.5 million, with the death toll nearing 90,000. Almost 340,000 patients have recovered.
Italy reported 542 additional deaths from the virus, bringing the number of fatalities to 17,669, the highest worldwide.