JACK Charlton, a soccer World Cup winner with England who became the darling of Ireland after leading their national team to unprecedented success as manager, has died aged 85.
A family statement said the former Leeds United defender died peacefully on Friday at his home in Northumberland, northern England.
“We cannot express how proud we are of the extraordinary life he led and the pleasure he brought to so many people in different countries and from all walks of life,” the statement read.
“He was a thoroughly honest, kind, funny and genuine man who always had time for people. His loss will leave a huge hole in all our lives but we are thankful for a lifetime of happy memories.”
Charlton led Ireland to their first major finals at the 1988 European Championship and also took them to the World Cup quarter-finals in 1990.
Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin was among the first to tweet his reaction.
“So saddened to hear of the passing of Jack Charlton who brought such honesty and joy to the football world. He personified a golden era in Irish football – the Italia 90 campaign being one of pure joy for the nation. He gave us magical memories. Thank you, Jack,” he said. – Thomson Reuters Foundation.