PRESTON North End owner Trevor Hemmings has passed away at the age of 86.
The Championship club confirmed the news on Monday evening with a short statement which read: “Preston North End Football Club can sadly confirm the devastating news that its owner Trevor Hemmings CVO has passed away this evening 11th October 2021.
"A further statement will be made in the coming days, but in the meantime his family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult time."
The English billionaire, who owns Grovemoor Limited, has a number of ties to Cork city and county.
These go back to when Hemmings was a child as he spent his summers in Cork.
As an adult, he bought a number of stud farms across the county while owning Trabolgan Holiday Village.
In 2020 he attempted to takeover of Cork City FC from supporters group FORAS.
Last October, the shareholders of the League of Ireland club voted overwhelmingly in favour of transferring the ownership of Cork City to Hemmings and his company.
The takeover was put on hold in December after the Munster FA and Grovemoor Limited failed to agree terms for the use of Turner's Cross Stadium.
Despite this, Hemmings helped Cork City obtain a license to compete in the 2021 League of Ireland First Division.
This wasn’t the first time that the billionaire came to rescue Cork City.
In 2019, the club was hit with a €150,000 tax bill and they needed to refinance their debts in order to secure a Premier Division license for 2020.
The board of FORAS then approached Peter Ridsdale, the former Leeds United chairman and football advisor to Preston owner Trevor Hemmings, about selling the sell on clauses for former Cork City players Alan Browne and Sean Maguire.
Hemmings was open to negotiations with City and shortly afterwards, Grovemoor Limited agreed to pay €199,000 for the two sell-on clauses.
City approached the FAI to renew their Premier Division license with the money and were refused due to outstanding bank debts.
The board re-approached Preston who upped their offer to €450,000 as well as a €150,000 first refusal to take over Cork City.
The funds allowed the club to secure a license, which meant they could compete in the 2020 League of Ireland Premier Division.
A number of big name sports starts took to Twitter to express their respect for Hemmings after the news of his passing.
Former Preston and Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson led the tributes, saying: “Very sad news to hear of the passing of Trevor Hemmings.
"He was Mr PNE…As former Players/Staff & Supporters we owe this man a Huge Debt of Gratitude.
"Without him who knows where our football club would be.
"RIP Sir & thanks for all you did for us…Love to the Family.”