Lausanne (AFP) – Koebi Kuhn, a former Switzerland international and manager, died on Tuesday in Zurich at the age of 76 after a long illness, former FIFA president Sepp Blatter told AFP.

“I spent the last few days with him,” said Blatter. “In Switzerland, he was one of the most popular players and coaches. He always reached out to the public with great modesty.”

Midfielder Kuhn played for FC Zurich from 1960 to 1977, winning six Swiss league titles and five Swiss Cups. He also played 63 times for Switzerland.

He briefly managed Zurich in the early 1980s and took over the national team in 2001. He remained coach until Switzerland, the co-hosts, were eliminated at Euro 2008.

At the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Kuhn’s Swiss team won their group but lost on penalties to Ukraine in the round of 16 after drawing 0-0. They were eliminated without conceding a goal.