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Shock as death of Gary Speed is announced

Football was stunned to hear of the death of Wales boss Gary Speed on Sunday, news that was confirmed by the Welsh FA.

-Updated 5.45pm

THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION of Wales has announced that international manager Gary Speed has died at the age of 42.

Local police in Cheshire have confirmed that the 42-year-old took his own life, confirming the death in a statement (See The Daily Telegraph). He is survived by his wife and two sons.

“At 7.08am this morning, Sunday 27 November, police were informed of an incident at Aldford Road, Huntington,” a spokesperson said. “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 kind have been informed.”

A statement from the Welsh FA continued: “We extend our sympathies and condolences to the family. We ask that everyone respects the family’s privacy at this very sad time.”

“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,” FAW Chief Executive, Jonathan Ford commented.

Speed played for five clubs during his playing career – Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United – and took charge of his national side in February.

Under his brief tenure, results and performances improved considerably and, according to the WFA, “there were strong grounds for optimism” that Wales would compete to qualify for the next World Cup in Brazil.

Tributes have been pouring in for the former midfielder, lead by ex-team-mates, managers and friends.

Compatriot Ryan Giggs said he was “totally devastated”. In a statement issued through the Manchester United official website, he added: ”Gary was one of the nicest men in football and someone I am honoured to call a team-mate and friend.

“Words cannot begin to describe how sad I feel at hearing this awful news. It goes without saying my thoughts are with his family at this tremendously sad time.”

Assistant manager John Carver led the tributes from Newcastle United, saying: ”When I was coaching at Newcastle with Sir Bobby (Robson), Gary was as perfect a professional as you could ever wish to work with – 100 per cent committed, dedicated to his profession and, above all, a wonderful colleague and friend.

“I am devastated by the news and I can only offer his family the most sincere of condolences at this tragic time. Gary was an exceptional person and a very dear friend. Football has lost a truly great man.”

Speed’s former international colleague Robbie Savage paid an emotional tribute to his friend on BBC News.

The FAI also conveyed their sorrow in a statement.

“The Football Association of Ireland, the football management and the players today expressed their sincere condolences to the family and colleagues of the Welsh manager Gary Speed. He will be sadly missed by everyone and our thoughts and prayers at this this difficult time are with his family.

“Ar Dheis De go dti anam.”

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