Lee played a pivotal role in London’s successful Olympic and Paralympic Games bid and spearheaded the campaigns that won the 2018 Rio Olympic Games and 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup.
He also led successful bids for Pyeongchang 2018, Paris 2024 and the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympics and was regarded as on of Britain’s finest sports communications strategists.
Lee founded Vero Communications in 2006 after the successful London bid.
"My fellow directors Clair Ashley, Sujit Jasani and I have been incredibly fortunate to have known and worked with Mike over many years," Vero director John Zerafa said.
"He was a force in communications – always inspiring, challenging and innovative and leaves an indelible legacy in the world of sport. He will be deeply missed by all those who have worked with him, and been advised by him. On behalf of the entire Vero team, our thoughts are with Mike’s wife Heather, his son Alex and step-son Euan."
Aside from big-ticket events, the agency played a role in helping surfing and sevens rugby become Olympic sports and worked on more bespoke projects, such as managing Brian Cookson’s International Cycling Union presidential election campaign.
Tributes on social media have paid homage to the Lee and his legacy in sport.
It is with enormous sadness that the Lee family and VERO Communications announce that Mike Lee passed away on Saturday 8 September at the age of 61.— VERO Communications (@VeroSport) September 10, 2018
A statement can be found here: https://t.co/GndxgU2DFh
Our thoughts are with Mike’s family and loved ones at this sad time. pic.twitter.com/UeLbY9yteN
All at JTA, especially Sevi & I, are shocked & deeply saddened by the passing of our friend Mike Lee OBE. We enjoyed great rivalry with Mike & yet had huge respect for his extraordinary talent in campaigns & strategic communications. We’ll miss you Mike. https://t.co/F0ghdLMugG— Jon Tibbs (JTA) (@Team_JTA) September 10, 2018
Such sad, sad news about Mike Lee, taken far too early. He was the best at what he did, but far more than that. I will miss his passion, flair and wicked wit enormously. Love and prayers to Heather & the family.— Tim Crow (@shaymantim) September 10, 2018
Very sad to hear about Mike Lee. He was a big man who did big things but he was also generous with his time and expertise, warm, funny and - above all - terrific company. Very proud of the work we did on the 2013 Cookson campaign.— Scott Dougal (@scottdougal) September 10, 2018
Shocked and saddened to hear of Mike Lee’s passing. The ultimate campaigner, I always admired his combative style mixed with boundless enthusiasm, a sharp mind and great storytelling along the journey to the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics. RIP. https://t.co/Hzm4oMcrMM— Philip Wilkinson (@PhilWilkinson81) September 10, 2018
Very sad to hear of the death of my old PR colleague Mike Lee OBE. He was ‘Mr 2012’ and I was always inspired by his work. My thoughts are with his wife Heather and family.— Mr T (@IanTompkins2) September 11, 2018
Awful news about Mike Lee, former communications director of London's Olympic bid & one of the very best in the business. Smart, driven, combative, insightful. Professionally & personally, always enjoyed sparring - and occasionally celebrating - with him. Thoughts with his family https://t.co/sWjChDovmy— Paul Kelso (@pkelso) September 10, 2018
Prior to Vero, Lee was a director of communications for UEFA and media and political strategist for the English Premier League.
He was married to Heather Rabbatts, the former Millwall chair and FA non-executive director.
Over the past 12 months, Lee stepped back from the daily grind of Vero to pursue his passion of cycling and studying for a master’s degree.
"Thanks to the legacy of Mike, and the strength of the senior team that has been at the core of the business over the past decade, Vero is well positioned for the future, with clients across the world of sport," the agency said in an obituary.