Eduardo Romero, one of the most outstanding players in the history of Argentine golf, died of cancer on Sunday at the age of 67, a statement from authorities in his hometown confirmed.
"It is with deep sorrow that the Municipality of Villa Allende informs that at the age of 67, Mayor Eduardo Romero, for us and the world, "El Gato", has just passed away," it read.
"Along with Roberto De Vicenzo and Ángel Cabrera, he was one of the best golfers in the history of our country," the statement said, according to La Voz de Interior.
"Eduardo Romero was undoubtedly one of the most outstanding and recognised residents of this city, who represented us the length and breadth of the world through his sporting career as a golfer," the municipality of Córdoba said in a post on social networks.
"El Gato" Romero, as he was known, stood out especially in the PGA European Tour, where he won eight titles and earned nearly US$8 million.
He also performed well in the Champions Tour in the United States, where he won two tournaments, The Tradition and the US Open.
Among other achievements, he won the Abierto de la Republica, finished the 2002 season in 19th place in the world ranking and won multiple individual awards.
Romero, who had retired from sport, had been mayor of Villa Allende, his hometown in Córdoba Province, for six years, winning elections in 2015 and 2019 running for PRO.
He recently announced that he was taking a leave of absence as a public official due to health problems.
"My health condition is delicate and a few weeks ago I began a long treatment with ups and downs, which forces me to give you news that I never imagined and for which I never prepared myself," he said in a statement at the time.
"Together with my team and my family, we decided that the best thing to do is to take a break from my duties as mayor of Villa Allende," he added.
Tributes from the opposition Juntos por el Cambio coalition poured in for the golfer.
"While visiting Cordoba we received the sad news of the early departure of Eduardo 'El Gato' Romero. We will remember him as a great golfer, a great mayor and, above all, a great person. A heartfelt embrace to all his family and loved ones," said PRO chair Patricia Bullrich.
Mario Negro, the president of the UCR block in the Chamber of Deputies, wrote: "Goodbye, dear Gato Romero. You were an outstanding sportsman, a phenomenal leader who dared to approach politics to change the lives of the citizens of Villa Allende and an exceptional human being."