The World Anti-Doping Agency has paid tribute to Frederic Donze after his death following a short illness ©WADA

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has paid tribute to its chief operating officer Frédéric Donzé after his death at the age of 50 following a short illness.

Donzé joined the organisation in 2002 and had served as its chief operating officer since 2016.

Paying tribute WADA President Witold Bańka said: "This is an incredibly sad time for everyone who knew Frédéric Donzé. 

"I am certain that the global anti-doping community joins WADA in conveying our most sincere condolences to Fred’s family at this tragic time. Fred was an integral part of the Agency. 

"His knowledge of all aspects of anti-doping and sport in general, coupled with his passion and drive to deliver real results for athletes, will leave a massive gap in our organisation. 

"Beyond his contribution to anti-doping, it is his humanity, sense of humour and gregarious nature that we will all miss most."

WADA President Witold Banka described Donze as an
WADA President Witold Banka described Donze as an "integral part" of the organisation ©Getty Images

Donzé first joined WADA in the post of media relations and communications manager, before becoming the director of the organisation's Europe Office and International Federation Relations in 2011.

WADA director general Olivier Niggli said: "For 20 years, Fred was key to the life and soul of WADA. 

"His tremendous work ethic, intelligence and authenticity made him an inspiration to his colleagues and a source of great confidence for athletes and everyone involved in anti-doping around the world.

"His passing is a devastating blow to all of us who had the great fortune to know him, work alongside him and call him our friend."

Before joining WADA Donzé was a journalist in Switzerland, and was sports editor for Geneva based newspaper Le Temps.