ImageGianluigi Porelli, Honorary President of the ULEB, passed away last night in Bologna at age of 79. Mr. Porelli was one of the founders of the ULEB in 1991, and acted as first president of the Union since 1998, when he was replaced by current president Eduardo Portela and named Honorary President.

Mr. Porelli arrived to basketball in the 60´s via Virtus Bologna, the club in which he had been previously involved for many seasons in the tennis section. In May 1970, already as Virtus basketball president, he was one of the founders of the Italian League (Lega), together with Adolfo Bogoncelli (Olimpia Milano), Adalberto Tedeschi (Varese), Pietro Lucchini (Fortitudo Bologna), Giusseppe Rigola (Biella), Rino Snaidero (Udine), Aldo Allievi (Cantù) and Giovanni Milanaccio (All' Onestà Milano).

Mr. Porelli acted as Virtus basketball president until 1989, taking the team to 16 Natiuonal championships in 21 years. Since 1984 until 1992, Mr. Porelli was also Vice President of the Lega (presided over by Mr. Gianni deMichelis). Elected as member of the Italian Hall of Fame, Vice President of the Italian Basketball Federation (1992 – 1999), also acted as President of FIBA Legal Commission (1998 – 2002), and was selected in 2008 as one of the legends of European Basketball in the 50 anniversary of European club basketball competitions.

Eduardo Portela, current ULEB President, has spoken on Mr. Porelli:

"Gianluigi Porelli has been a great man and a great friend. Besides his work and his achievements with Virtus, Lega and the ULEB, he was an enterprising leader and a man who knew how to generate confidence. His contribution to Italian and European basketball is too great to be listed. It will be impossible to talk of European basketball and its progress over the last decades without having his huge contribution on mind; he will be forever remembered, both as a person and as a leader, specially by those who were lucky enough to meet and treat him. Gianluigi Porelli has been an example for everybody".

TalkBasket's deepest condolences go out to Mr. Porelli's family.