MILAN — Armando Trovati, a longtime photographer for The Associated Press and skiing beat expert, has died. He was 73.

After a lengthy illness, Trovati died of lung cancer on Sunday at his home in Milan surrounded by family and friends, his son Alessandro Trovati said.

Trovati started with the AP as a teenager, working in Milan as a messenger and dark room assistant.

After working his way up to staff photographer, Trovati documented news events such as the Red Brigades gang, soccer World Cups and the skiing World Cup virtually from its inception in the 1960s.

After three decades with the AP, Trovati, who was Italian, left to start his own private photo agency — Pentaphoto — but still covered skiing worldwide for the AP.

One of the toughest sports for photographers to cover due to the high speeds involved and extreme weather conditions, the affable Trovati taught the trade to a generation of photographers, including AP Milan staffer Luca Bruno and Reuters Italy photo chief Stefano Rellandini, his nephew.

After covering Olympics and world championships for decades, Trovati crowned his career by being named Chief of Photography for all sports at the 2006 Turin Olympics with the games’ organizing committee.

One of Trovati’s more memorable photos came at the 1975 skiing World Cup finals in Val Gardena, when the battle for the overall title between Gustavo Thoeni and Ingemar Stenmark went down to a parallel race.

“I kept on shifting my lens back and forth between Thoeni and Stenmark and I was able to capture both Stenmark going out and Thoeni then winning within a split second of each other,” Trovati said when recounting the event.

Trovati also documented the entire career of three-time Olympic champion Alberto Tomba, becoming friendly with the Italian and even helping to protect the skier from invasive paparazzi at nightly celebrations.

The pipe-smoking Trovati concluded his career by capturing images of the golden age of the U.S. Ski Team, led by Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn.

Trovati is survived by his wife, Roberta, two sons Alessandro and Marco — who have taken over his photo agency — and two grandsons.