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Renowned Romanian Journalist Dies

November 21, 1999

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) _ Ioan Chirila, a prominent Romanian sports journalist who covered eight soccer World Cups and wrote a best-seller on Nadia Comaneci, died Sunday. He was 75.

Chirila died after suffering a heart attack in his home, the private news agency Mediafax reported.

On Friday, Chirila appeared on television commenting on Comaneci, the five-time Olympic champion who was the first gymnast to receive a perfect 10.0, at the 1976 Olympics.

``She was a saint for us because she was so close to perfection,″ he said.

Chirila, who became a journalist in 1950, specialized in tennis, soccer and gymnastics. He wrote 27 books and translated several plays from Russian into Romanian.

His best-selling book entitled ``Nadia″ sold 345,000 copies. His books which sold over 70,000 copies made him one of the most popular writers in contemporary Romania.

Chirila is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.

Funeral services were incomplete.

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