The unfortunate demise is reported of former England midfielder Ray Wilkins. Wilkins was reported dead on Wednesday in a hospital at the age of 61, the London club have announced.
The 61-year-old was taken to St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south London, last week after suffering a heart attack at his home. He was placed in an induced coma five days ago but never regained consciousness.
Chelsea-legend Wilkins played for England 84 times, captaining his country on 10 occasions. His playing career spanned three decades and he starred for clubs in four different countries. After retiring from football in 1997, he became a manager and coach, most recently at Aston Villa.
The former England International also played for Manchester United, AC Milan, Rangers and QPR, was being treated at St George’s Hospital in London following a cardiac arrest.
Sir Alex Ferguson, Gary Lineker and Frank Lampard were among the many figures who paid tribute to Wilkins, described by one mourner as ‘one of the finest midfielders of his generation’.
Ex-Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard posted on Instagram: ‘Devastated to hear the news that Ray Wilkins has passed away. He was a great player and an even greater man. Full of kindness and humility, with impeccable manners at all times. He had respect and time for everyone and to me he was a mentor and a friend. I’m not sure they make them like Ray anymore. You will be sorely missed fella.’
Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said: ‘I am very, very sad to hear the news about Ray and send my deepest sympathies to Ray’s wife Jackie, his children Jade and Ross and all of his family.
‘Ray was a great football man, who was well respected and liked by all who knew him and he always had a kind word and time for people.
‘Ray was an impressive football talent and had a fantastic career representing some of the biggest clubs in the world including Chelsea, Manchester United, AC Milan and PSG and of course his country, England.
‘As a manager, Ray was so popular amongst his LMA colleagues and I know that he will be missed by us
A statement on behalf of Wilkins’ family read: ‘It is with great sadness we announce that Raymond Colin Wilkins passed away this morning.
‘We would like to thank St George’s staff for the amazing work they have done to care for our beloved Ray.
‘We would also like to say thank you for the many goodwill messages we have received from Ray’s friends, colleagues, and members of the public.
‘Ray leaves behind his loving wife, Jackie, daughter Jade, son Ross, and his beautiful grandchildren, Oliver, Frankie, Ava, Freddie, Jake and Archie. We are asking for privacy at this very difficult time.’
A Chelsea statement said the club are “devastated to learn of the passing of our former player, captain and assistant coach”.
It added: “Rest in peace, Ray, you will be dreadfully missed.”
Franco Baresi has also led tributes from AC Milan to former player Ray Wilkins after he passed away on Wednesday after suffering a heart-attack last week.
And as Milan took on city rivals Inter on Wednesday night, Wilkins’ name was sung by supporters who unfurled a banner paying tribute to the former midfielder, describing him as a Rossoneri legend.
Baresi said: ‘I am sad to hear that (about Wilkins). In his honour, tonight I’ll be wearing his Number 8 jersey. He was my teammate during the years when we laid the foundations to go on and win everything.
‘He was a gentleman both on and off the field, the ideal teammate you could ask for.’