French rugby legend Christophe Dominici found dead in park near Paris

Christophe Dominici, pictured playing in 2007, made 67 appearances for France.
Christophe Dominici, pictured playing in 2007, made 67 appearances for France. © Anne-Christine Poujoulat, AFP/File

Former French rugby international Christophe Dominici has been found dead at the age of 48 in a park near Paris, police said Tuesday.


Dominici, who played 67 times for France, was seen by a witness jumping from the roof of a disused building in the Saint-Cloud park, police said.

The diminutive Dominici -- he was 1.72m and 82kg -- scored 25 tries in 67 Tests for France, including eight tries across three World Cups. 

He had a deceptive change of pace and a shimmy that could lose and confuse defenders.

His most celebrated moment came in the 1999 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand when his second-half try, grabbing a bouncing ball one-handed and then skating down the left touchline, put the French ahead as they reached the final with a remarkable comeback. 

Dominici enjoyed a glittering club career, first with Toulon in southeast France, where he was born, and then at Paris-based Stade Francais with whom he won the French championship five times. 

After he retired, then-national coach Bernard Laporte gave Dominici a coaching role. He also worked as a media pundit.

Off the field, Dominici suffered bouts of depression. In his 2007 autobiography, he admitted a personal loss had triggered depression and that he had been abused as a child.

He returned to the public eye in the summer when he fronted an Emirates-based bid to take over Beziers rugby club which petered out with a financial investigation into its viability.

The French Rugby Federation said Dominici had "left his imprint on an entire generation of rugby".

"Today, the rugby family has lost a legend and an emblematic player," it added in a statement.


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