A statement released on Monday afternoon read: "It is with the deepest sadness and heaviest of hearts we announce the passing of former Manchester City player and Chairman Francis Lee, aged 79. A club legend in every sense, Francis made 330 appearances for City, scoring 148 goals.
"He won one First Division title, one FA Cup, one League Cup, a European Cup Winners’ Cup and two Charity Shields during a glittering eight-year spell as a player – a legacy that ensures his position among Manchester City’s all-time greats is secure.
"He would later return to City as club Chairman in 1994, spending four years at the helm.
"Franny passed away in the early hours of this morning after a long battle with cancer. His wife Gill and children Charlotte, Jonny and Nik say he will be sorely missed and would like to thank everyone for their kind words."
Lee, then of Derby County, and Hunter famously did battle at the Baseball Ground on November 1 1975 after a coming together that saw punches thrown and red cards dished out to both. The pair then engaged in a second bout of fisticuffs on their way off the pitch.
It was an incident that Hunter did not back on as fondly as he regarded Lee, with whom he later mended bridges.
“There were people I didn’t like, and there were people I didn’t like to play against," Hunter once told talkSPORT
“Well, Franny, I enjoyed playing against Franny. That was just an incident that happened that I’m not very proud of. I’ve seen the little fella since and he’s a smashing bloke; we actually get on quite well.
“I was stood at the top of the steps once, and I hadn’t seen Franny since the punch-up. He was coming up the steps as chairman of Man City, and I looked at him in his face and I thought, ‘oh no, here we go again’.
“But he got two steps away from me and a big smile broke out on his face, and he said, ‘let’s go in that boardroom and finish that fight!’.”
The admiration was mutual. Lee paid a glowing tribute to Hunter after the Leeds defender's death in April 2020.
Lee Tweeted: "It is with great sadness to hear of the passing of the great Leeds United defender and personality Norman Hunter. He was a smashing person much loved and admired by all who knew him! May he Rest in Peace!""
Tributes to Lee are expected from the footballing world this week.