Jack Charlton, the former Leeds and England defender who won a World Cup winner’s medal in 1966, has died. He was 85.
Charlton had been diagnosed with lymphoma in the last year and was also battling dementia.
He spent his entire 21-year playing career at Leeds, making a joint club record 773 appearances, before retiring as a player in 1973 and going on to enjoy a successful and colourful career as a manager.
One of English football’s most popular and larger-than-life characters, he had spells in charge of Sheffield Wednesday, Middlesbrough, Newcastle and the Republic of Ireland, who he guided to their first major finals at Euro 88 and two more in the space of 10 years.
A family statement read: “Jack died peacefully on Friday, July 10 at the age of 85. He was at home in Northumberland, with his family by his side.
“As well as a friend to many, he was a much-adored husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
“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.
“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’s granddaughter, journalist Emma Wilkinson, tweeted: “Beyond sad to have to say goodbye to my beloved Grandad, Jack Charlton. He enriched so many lives through football, friendship and family. He was a kind, funny and thoroughly genuine man and our family will miss him enormously.”
Beyond sad to have to say goodbye to my beloved Grandad, Jack Charlton. He enriched so many lives through football, friendship and family. He was a kind, funny and thoroughly genuine man and our family will miss him enormously. pic.twitter.com/MR4i5WgAMP— Emma Wilkinson (@emmawilkitv) July 11, 2020
Gary Lineker praised Charlton as “manager of probably the best ever Ireland side and a wonderfully infectious personality to boot.”
Saddened to hear that Jack Charlton has passed away. World Cup winner with England, manager of probably the best ever Ireland side and a wonderfully infectious personality to boot. RIP Jack.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 11, 2020
Lady Elsie Robson, the widow of former Ipswich, Barcelona and Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson and friend of Charlton, paid tribute to the former defender.
In a statement she said: “Jack was a great friend and a wonderful supporter of our cancer charity. He’d come out to events and meet with fundraisers, and people were always so thrilled to meet a World Cup winner.
“He had such a way about him. He’d just make us all smile. I feel for Pat and the family after their great loss and they have our heartfelt sympathy.”
Leeds United tweeted that the club was: “deeply saddened to learn club legend Jack Charlton passed away last night at the age of 85”.
#LUFC are deeply saddened to learn club legend Jack Charlton passed away last night at the age of 85— Leeds United (@LUFC) July 11, 2020
The England football team also paid tribute, with a spokesperson writing: “Our deepest sympathies are with Jack’s family, friends and former clubs.”
We are devastated by the news that Jack Charlton, a member of our World Cup-winning team of 1966, has passed away.— England (@England) July 11, 2020
Our deepest sympathies are with Jack’s family, friends and former clubs. pic.twitter.com/eSGjbOpo7Y
Leaders in Ireland have also paid tribute to Charlton, with Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald describing the former Republic of Ireland manager as “Ireland’s most beloved English man.”
Jack Charlton was Ireland's most beloved English man. Sorry to hear of his passing. He kept 'em all under pressure and kept us all cheering the boys in green on. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam.— Mary Lou McDonald (@MaryLouMcDonald) July 11, 2020
Former Liverpool midfielder Ray Houghton, who was handed his Republic debut in Jack Charlton’s first match in charge of the side in 1986, told talkSPORT: “He was a larger than life character.”
“The word legend is used too much in football but not for Jack, for what he’s done domestically with Leeds, winning the World Cup, which he should have been knighted for, I’ve still never understood that, I think that’s an absolute disgrace and the fact that he did so well with Ireland.
“He changed everything about Irish football because there was a stage where we hadn’t qualified for tournaments, we had some great players and very good managers but didn’t quite over the line.
“Jack came in and changed that mentality, got us through two World Cups and one European Championships. His legacy within Ireland is absolutely huge.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.