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The Football Association of Wales revealed Sunday that football manager Gary Speed was found dead at 07:08 GMT on 27th November at his home in Huntington, Chester.
Speed boasted an exemplary international career. Over a period of fifteen years, he won 85 caps for his country and also played for Leeds, Everton, Sheffield United, Newcastle and Bolton. After taking on his first managerial role with Sheffield United and accepting an MBE in the 2010 Birthday Honours for his services to football, he was appointed as Wales’ manager almost one year ago with the brief to prepare the senior squad for qualification to the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Cheshire police were called to Speed’s home in the morning of 27th November after receiving information of a sudden death at an address in Huntington. A spokeswoman for Cheshire police announced that there were ‘no suspicious circumstances’ surrounding his death, and confirmed it to be an apparent suicide.
A minute’s silence was announced at the Premier League Swansea match against Aston Villa on Sunday, following which, supportive chants and rounds of applause resonated around the stadium.
Tributes to Speed began to pour in within minutes of hearing the news. Former team mate Ryan Giggs said: “I am totally devastated. Gary Speed was one of the nicest men in football and someone I am honoured to call a team-mate and friend. It goes without saying my thoughts are with his family at this tremendously sad time.”
Alan Shearer who played alongside Speed during his time at Newcastle said: “Gary was a magnificent person, bright, fun and a wonderful family man – he lit up every room he walked into.”
Comments however have not been restricted to those issued from former team mates. Labour leader Ed Miliband tweeted that Speed was a ‘[f]antastic servant of Leeds’ and will be ‘[m]ourned by football’, with Welsh politicians Cheryl Gillian, Kirsty Williams and Carywn Jones also expressing their condolences.
The FAW also publically extended their sympathies. Speed leaves a wife and two children, and the FAW called for everyone to respect the family’s privacy at such a difficult time. They further commented that ‘this tragedy [...] is a huge loss not only for his family and friends but for the nation as a whole.’
Cheshire police confirmed that a family tribute will be released at a later date.