Former French rugby international Christophe Dominici has been found dead at the age of 48, police said Tuesday.
Dominici, who played 67 times for France, was found in the Saint-Cloud park near Paris, police said.
The diminutive Dominici, who was 172cm and 82kg, scored 25 tries in 67 Tests for France, including eight tries across three World Cups.
He had a deceptive change of pace and a shimmy that could lose and confuse defenders.
His most celebrated moment came in the 1999 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand when his second-half try, grabbing a bouncing ball one-handed and then skating down the left touchline, put the French ahead as they reached the final with a remarkable comeback.
The 43-31 win, which put France into a final it would lose to Australia, is remembered as one of the greatest games in history.
Christophe Dominici takes on Christian Cullen during France’s 43-31 win against New Zealand at the 1999 World Cup. Picture: Alex Livesey /AllsportSource:Getty Images
Dominici enjoyed a glittering club career, first with Toulon in southeast France, where he was born, and then at Paris-based Stade Francais with whom he won the French championship five times.
After he retired, then-national coach Bernard Laporte gave Dominici a coaching role. He also worked as a media pundit.
Off the field, Dominici suffered bouts of depression. In his 2007 autobiography, he admitted a personal loss had triggered depression and that he had been abused as a child.
Christophe Dominici attempts to tackle Wendell Sailor in 2004. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
He returned to the public eye in the summer when he fronted an Emirates-based bid to take over Beziers rugby club which petered out after a financial investigation into its viability.
The French Rugby Federation said Dominici had “left his imprint on an entire generation of rugby”.
“Today, the rugby family has lost a legend and an emblematic player,” it added in a statement.
Fans have been rewatching his famous try in the wake of his death as tributes pour out.
🤩 "𝑪'𝒆𝒔𝒕 𝒖𝒏 𝒈𝒆́𝒏𝒊𝒆 !"
À la suite d'un coup de pied par dessus de @FGalthie, @christophedomi profite d'un rebond favorable et s'en va inscrire le 3e essai du #XVdeFrance dans cette 1/2 finale historique de la #RWC1999 contre les @AllBlacks #UnJourUnEssai pic.twitter.com/yOmbzsx4zN
“All of our thoughts are with the family and friends of Christophe Dominici at this incredibly sad time,” England Rugby tweeted. “A France Rugby legend. Rest in peace Christophe.”
“Deeply saddened to hear of Christophe Dominici‘s passing,” World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont tweeted. “He was a star of the 1999 World Cup scoring a brilliant try in that thrilling semi-final & you had the feeling that something special would happen every time he took to the field. My condolences are with his family.”
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