CARACAS (AP) — Venezuela's soccer federation president Jesús Berardinelli has died two weeks after he suddenly lost consciousness and presented other health problems in a hospital, the country's soccer federation said Wednesday. Berardinelli was 61.

Berardinelli died 16 days after becoming subject of an investigation by Venezuelan authorities into the alleged misuse of public funds. He was taken on July 22 to a Caracas hospital, where he had respiratory problems and was put on a ventilator.

The soccer federation did not disclose a cause of death.

Berardinelli is the second high-ranking South American soccer official to die during the coronavirus pandemic. The head of Bolivia's soccer federation, César Salinas, died July 19 because of COVID-19.

The accusations against Berardinelli stemmed from his time as deputy of Venezuela's football federation. In April he took over as president after Laureano González, who had held the post since 2015, quit.

The football federation defended Berardinelli against the accusations, saying it does not receive public funds.


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