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Ethiopian running legend Miruts Yifter dies aged 72

Ethiopian running legend and Olympic gold medallist Miruts Yifter has died in Canada at the age of 72, his family said.

Miruts' son, Biniam Miruts, and Ethiopian Athletics Federation officials confirmed his death on Friday.

He had been suffering from respiratory problems.

Miruts inspired world-class athletes like Haile Gebreselassie by winning two gold medals at the 1980 Moscow Olympics in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres after claiming a bronze medal at the 1972 Munich Games.

Gebreselassie, struggling to hold back tears, told reporters: "Miruts has been everything to me and my athletics career."

Miruts was the subject of criticism during Ethiopia's former military regime and left in 2000 for Canada.

His family called on Ethiopians to give him a hero's welcome when his body arrives back home for burial next week.

AP

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