Tributes poor in following death of Gary Speed

Florial tributes in memory of former Leeds United player Gary Speed, laid on around the statue of Billy Bremner at Elland Road, Leeds.
Florial tributes in memory of former Leeds United player Gary Speed, laid on around the statue of Billy Bremner at Elland Road, Leeds.
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Here is a selection of tributes from his peers following the tragic death of Gary Speed, at the age of 42.

“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. Words cannot begin to describe how sad I feel at hearing this awful news” - Speed’s former Wales team-mate Ryan Giggs.

“Gary was a magnificent person, bright, fun and a wonderful family man - he lit up every room he walked into. I am proud to have been his friend and will miss him dreadfully” - Alan Shearer, who played alongside Speed at Newcastle for six years.

“He was a star in the true sense. For him - at 42 - to leave us is such a tragic loss. He had a life of success to look forward to I’m sure. I’ve known Gary since 1988 when I joined Leeds and I’ve rarely come across a better balanced, lovely, genuine person” - former Leeds manager Howard Wilkinson.

“I was given the tragic news this morning. To say I am devastated is an understatement. Today the world has lost a great football manager but even more sadly a great man. He will be missed by all” - Wales captain Aaron Ramsey, via Twitter.

“He wasn’t just a great player, he was a great person too. He was always great to be around, the life and soul of the party, and a good friend” - Rob Lee, who played alongside Speed at Newcastle.

“People are just stunned. I saw [former Wales striker] John Hartson earlier and I said ‘have you heard about Gary?’ The big man just cried and cried. We cuddled each other. Gary was the ultimate professional” - Bobby Gould, Wales manager 1995-1999.

“The world has lost a great man in Gary Speed. I’m devastated spoke to him yesterday morning why! Why. Why. He come to watch strictly 3/4 weeks ago. I high fived him in the front row he loved the show, he loved life he loved his family. Devastated. He was upbeat on phone yesterday we were laughing together, talking football and dancing. He was a great teammate and a great friend #RIP” - former Wales team-mate Robbie Savage, via Twitter.

“He was one of those players who would stay behind all day in training. I can’t believe what’s happened” - former Wales team-mate Dean Saunders.