LeRoy Neiman has died, aged 91, BBC News reports. He was the official painter of five Olympiads and his ability to instantly capture sporting moments on canvas made him famous throughout the world. His publicist Gail Parenteau confirmed that he had passed away at a hospital in Manhattan, New York, but the cause of his death was not revealed.
Neiman cut a distinctive figure in the sporting world, with his handlebar moustache and during his lifetime of painting, he captured a huge array of major sporting events, such as the Grand National, the Super Bowl and several Olympic events. Some of his best-known paintings were of the boxer, Muhammad Ali. In 1972, he sketched the world chess championship between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer, in Reykjavik. In 2008, he told Associated Press "I've had a lucky life; I've zeroed in on what you would call action and excellence. Everybody who does anything to try to succeed has to give the best of themselves and art has made me pull the best out of myself."
Neiman didn't just recreate the drama of sporting events; he also covered Cannes Film Festival, as well as maintaining a long working association with Playboy magazine, where he regularly contributed to the 'Man at His Leisure' section. Hugh Hefner tweeted yesterday "Long time friend & resident Playboy artist LeRoy Neiman has passed away at the age of 91. R.I.P." Neiman is survived by his wife, Janet Byrne.