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4:22pm UK, Sunday November 27, 2011
Wales football manager Gary Speed has been found hanged at his home aged 42.
A statement posted on the Welsh FA’s website said: “The Football Association of Wales are sad to announce the death of the national team manager Gary Speed.
“We extend our sympathies and condolences to the family. We ask that everyone respects the family’s privacy at this very sad time.
FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford added: “I, and all of the football family of Wales, am devastated by the news of Gary’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and family at this difficult time.”
Speed, who leaves a wife and two sons, also captained the national team and remains the country’s most capped outfield player.
His former international team mate Robbie Savage tweeted: “The world has lost a great man in Gary speed I’m devastated spoke to him yesterday morning why ! Why. Why !! I’ll miss him so much x.”
Manchester United striker Michael Owen, who lives near Speed’s home in Huntington, Cheshire, described the news as “tragic”.
:: Leeds United 1998-1996
:: Everton 1996-1998
:: Newcastle United 1998-2004
:: Bolton Wanderers 2004-2008
:: Sheffield United 2008-2010
:: Total Appearances: 677
:: Total Goals: 103
A spokesman for Cheshire Police said: “At 7.08am this morning, Sunday 27 November, police were informed of an incident at Aldford Road, Huntington.
“Officers went to the scene where a 42-year-old man was found dead. There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and next of kin have been informed.”
A minute’s applause was held ahead of Swansea’s game against Aston Villa. Shay Given, the Aston Villa goalkeeper and Speed’s former Newcastle United team mate, was seen in tears as the game kicked off.
Liverpool‘s Craig Bellamy , who played both alongside Speed for Wales and under him as manager, was so upset by the death that he was withdrawn from his side’s Sunday afternoon match against Manchester City.
A statement released by Leeds United, where Speed began his career as a schoolboy, said he had “formed part of one of the greatest midfield line-ups of the modern era”.
It said the club was “stunned and saddened”, adding: “Gary was a likeable and popular man in the footballing world and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.”
Flags were also being flown at half mast in his honour outside the club’s Elland Road ground.
Speed, who was awarded the MBE in 2010, took charge of Wales for the first time in February.
His last game as manager was on November 12 when the team won 4-1 in a friendly against Norway.
Read about Speed’s impressive football career
Wales First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “I’m deeply saddened to hear about the death of Gary Speed. This is devastating news and our thoughts are with his family at what must be a very difficult time for them.”
Speed had appeared on BBC1’s Football Focus show on Saturday afternoon.
Doncaster manager Dean Saunders, a former international team-mate of Speed, told BBC Five Live: “He was so fit – he was one of those players who would stay behind all day in training. I can’t believe what’s happened.”
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