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51-Year-Old Adidas Chief Dies of Cancer

April 10, 1987 GMT

HERZOGENAURACH, West Germany (AP) _ Horst Dassler, head of the family-owned Adidas Co., one of the world’s biggest sporting goods concerns, died Friday, the company said. He had been suffering from cancer.

Dassler, 51, had led Adidas since the death in 1984 of his mother, Kaethe Dassler. Mrs. Dassler took over the company after her husband Adi, Adidas’ founder, died in 1978.

The famous three-stripe Adidas logo is seen on the uniforms of hundreds of international athletes.

Horst Dassler, the only son of Adi Dassler, was born in Erlangen, the Bavarian town where he died early Friday in a hospital. He and his four sisters each had a 20 percent share in the company.

The company is based in Herzogenaurach, about 14 miles from Nuremberg. In 1986 its revenue was $2.27 billion.

Adidas has about 11,000 workers spread throughout its subsidiaries in 40 countries. Its factories worldwide produce 280,000 athletic shoes per day, which are sold in more than 160 countries.

The Dassler shoes first gained international attention in 1932, when German sprinter Arthur Donath wore a pair when he won the bronze medal in the 100- meter dash at the Los Angeles Olympics. In 1936, American track star Jesse Owens won four Olympic gold medals in the Berlin Games wearing Dassler shoes.

In 1947, Rudolf Hassler left Adidas after bitter disputes with his brother Adi and formed his own sporting goods concern, Puma. Puma has grown into a strong competitor of Adidas worldwide.

Horst Dassler’s survivors include his wife Monika and two children, Suzanne and Adi.