Former Munster chief executive Garrett Fitzgerald has died aged 65 following an illness.

Fitzgerald was the longest-serving provincial CEO in Irish rugby. He joined Munster in 1999 and spearheaded the province's rise in the professional era, before retiring last June.

He was awarded an honorary doctorate at the University of Limerick, presented with the Richard Harris Patron’s award, and honoured by the Federation of Irish Sport for his outstanding contribution to sport.

Munster chairman Gerry O’Shea said: "With a hands-on approach, Garrett was the driving force behind Munster Rugby’s successful transition into the professional era, transforming the province into a club that is held in such high regard across the rugby landscape. 

"Showing great humility, Garrett always ensured it was never about him, and it was always about the people of Munster Rugby.

"Playing a leading role in shaping the province’s story through his hard work and committed service over the past 20 years he leaves a lasting legacy that we will forever be grateful for. 

"My sincere and heartfelt sympathies go out to Áine, Megan, Jamie and Michael, and Garrett’s extended family and friends."