Kevin Campbell dead aged 54 as tributes paid to ex Arsenal and Everton striker

Former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell has died, aged 54.

The tragic news was confirmed by his former team-mate at Nottingham Forest, Mark Crossley. Campbell, who had been hospitalised at the end of May, kept the details of his illness private. Following his hospitalisation, both Arsenal and Everton shared brief messages regarding his condition.

Crossley took to Twitter to announce the sad news, expressing his devastation: "Life can be so cruel at times Absolutely devastated with news of my ex forest team mate Kevin Campbell's passing, a true gentleman, a great player, a shining light of a dressing room, fun-loving guy, thoughts are with all his family and friends RIP mate." Campbell's illustrious career began at Arsenal, where he racked up 224 appearances for the first team, punctuated by loan stints at Leyton Orient and Leicester. He was integral to Arsenal's 1991 league title triumph and played a key role in their FA Cup and League Cup double victory in 1993, followed by lifting the European Cup Winners' Cup the subsequent year

After a three-year spell at Nottingham Forest from 1995 to 1998, Campbell ventured overseas to play for Turkish club Trabzonspor, marking the only time he played outside the UK. His return to English football saw him enjoy a successful six-month loan at Everton during the latter half of the 1998-99 season, which led to a permanent transfer to Goodison Park for £3 million that summer.

The tributes have followed with Arsenal team-mate Ray Parlour fondly remembering him. He said:" Devastated hearing the news this morning. RIP Kevin. Great player and even nicer Fella. Thoughts with his family at this tough time."

And Chris Sutton also paid his respects, adding: "Really awful news to hear of Kevin Campbell passing away. Kevin was a brilliant player and a superb fun guy. Thoughts and prayers go out to Kevin’s family."

During his time on Merseyside, he scored 50 goals in 160 games and quickly became a fan favourite. After leaving the Toffees, he had brief stints at West Brom and Cardiff before retiring in 2006.