ITALIAN football legend Paolo Rossi has died, aged 64.
The iconic striker was the star of Italy’s 1982 World Cup-winning campaign and won the Golden Boot at the tournament.
The former Juventus and AC Milan favourite won 48 caps for his country as well as two Serie A titles and a European Cup.
The Sun reports that his death was announced in the early hours of the morning by Italian TV channel RAI Sport, where he had been working as a pundit.
Presenter Enrico Varriale said: “Such terribly sad news: Paolo Rossi has left us.
“Unforgettable Pablito, who made all of us fall in love in that summer of 1982 and who was a precious and competent work colleague in RAI over recent years.
“RIP dear Paolo.”
His cause of death is not yet known.
Rossi scored a hat-trick in his country’s famous 3-2 win against Brazil in the quarter-finals of the 1982 tournament.
In the semi-final he scored both goals as Italy beat Poland 2-0, and he hit the opener in the 3-1 win over West Germany in the final.
Rossi finished top scorer in the tournament with six goals.
He was also a member of the Italy side that finished fourth in Argentina in 1978.
He scored 134 goals in 338 club matches before retiring in 1987 and is considered one of the best forwards of his generation.
Rossi’s wife Federica Cappelletti announced the death with a post on Instagram alongside a photo of the couple, accompanied by the comment ‘Forever,’ followed by a heart.
She also wrote on Facebook: “There will never be anyone like you, unique, special, after you the absolute nothing….”
German football legend Jurgen Klinsmann added: “Dear Pablito, we remember you forever!”