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SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Former Chelsea, Man United and England footballer Ray Wilkins dies, aged 61

Former Chelsea captain Ray Wilkins has died in hospital following a cardiac arrest. He was 61.

Wilkins, who won 84 England caps, had been treated in St George's Hospital in Tooting, south-west London since Friday.

A statement from Chelsea read: "Everybody associated with Chelsea Football Club is devastated to learn of the passing of our former player, captain and assistant coach, Ray Wilkins. Rest in peace, Ray, you will be dreadfully missed."

Wilkins had carried out media duties on talkSPORT and Sky Sports - he was a regular pundit on both platforms - shortly before suffering the cardiac arrest, and was taken to St George's Hospital on Friday.

He became the fourth player sent off while playing for England when he was dismissed during the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico in a game against Morocco.

Wilkins - known in the game by his childhood nickname 'Butch' - played for 11 clubs and was on the coaching staff of several more, but is commonly associated with Chelsea.

The midfielder started his career there and spent six years with the Blues, while also having numerous stints as assistant manager. On one occasion, he led the side on a caretaker basis.

During his career as a player, Wilkins won the FA Cup with Manchester United in 1983, scoring a memorable goal in the first tie against Brighton at Wembley, which ended 2-2. He also won the Scottish title with Rangers in 1989.

Former Manchester United manager 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 all."

Greg Clarke, chairman of the Football Association, said: "I am deeply saddened to hear this news. Ray Wilkins was a warm and kind-hearted man, who always had time for others. Through his broadcast work later in life he shared his love and knowledge of the game with millions of football fans.

"Before then of course he was a wonderful player who made 84 appearances for England over 10 years, captaining the team on 10 occasions. His lifelong commitment to the national team also saw him work with our Under-21s as part of his successful coaching career.

"He played for a number of top clubs including Chelsea, where he will always be most closely associated, Manchester United and AC Milan. Such a career underlined his ability as one of the finest midfielders of his generation. Ray will be much missed and my thoughts are with his wife Jackie, family and friends."

Statement issued by St George's Hospital, on behalf of Ray Wilkins' family:

"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."