James Strong, chairman of the local organising committee for the 2015 World Cup, has died aged 68 after complications from surgery.
He died on Sunday evening in a Sydney hospital, having held the tournament chairman's position since August 2011. The tournament chief executive John Harnden said Strong had made a major contribution to the event.
"James has been a friend and a mentor to me over a long period and I will miss his company and his advice," Harnden said. "He has made a massive contribution to corporate and sporting life in Australia and New Zealand.
"We extend our sincere condolences to his family and many friends. We will continue the work he began on the World Cup and deliver a tournament in 2015 that would make him proud."
Before working on the organisation of the World Cup, Strong had been the chief executive and managing director of Qantas from 1993 until 2001. He had also served as chairman of the Australia Council for the Arts, alongside senior roles with Woolworths, Rip Curl, IAG and Kathmandu.