By Harry Sykes
Stan Collymore and Rio Ferdinand led the tributes to Ugo Ehiogu after Tottenham announced on Friday morning that their Under-23s coach had died.
The football community took to Twitter to express their shock and devastation following the sudden death of Ehiogu.
Spurs released a statement on their official media channels to reveal that the former defender had died of a heart attack aged 44 in the early hours of Friday.
Ehiogu, who played for Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, Rangers, Sheffield United and Leeds in a stellar clear after graduating from the West Brom youth ranks, had suffered a cardiac arrest at the club’s Enfield training ground on Thursday morning.
It is with immense sadness that we announce the passing of Ugo Ehiogu, our Under-23 coach. pic.twitter.com/sSU0yqVfyk
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) April 21, 2017
Ehiogu’s former teammates and opponents were left reeling at the news of his death, with former Villa striker Collymore leading the tributes on social media.
Here is a selection of their messages on Twitter:
One of the good guys.
Truly broken. pic.twitter.com/cxqLk7uvy4
— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) April 21, 2017
Can’t believe the news that Ugo Ehiogu has passed away. Calm & warming vibe when in his company. My heart goes out to his family! #RIPUgo
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) April 21, 2017
Devastating news about Ugo Ehiogu, all at the PFA are shocked and saddened. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/XwzcrSiquY
— PFA (@PFA) April 21, 2017
We’re devastated to hear the news that Ugo Ehiogu has passed away.
Our thoughts and sympathies are with all lucky enough to know him. pic.twitter.com/UXT4CXNIne
— England (@England) April 21, 2017
— Graham Roberts (@GrahamRoberts4) April 21, 2017
Really upsetting news about Ugo Ehiogu .Football has lost a great player and a great man. Thoughts go out to his family. RIP Ugo????
— Chris Sutton (@chris_sutton73) April 21, 2017
My thoughts are with Ugo Ehiogu, his family and close friends.. god bless Ugo. Rip ????
— John Hartson (@JohnHartson10) April 21, 2017
Ehiogu, who played four times for England, will be remembered as one of the outstanding Premier League defenders of his era.
He spent his peak years at Villa, where he made 248 of his 429 club appearances and is widely regarded as one of the best centre-backs to have ever played for the club.
He formed an outstanding defensive partnership with current England manager Gareth Southgate.
Ehiogu was appointed coach of Tottenham’s Under-21s in the summer of 2014 after a short spell working part-time at the club’s academy.
The Under-21s has since been rebranded as the Under-23s and they play in Premier League 2, which is the development league for players aspiring to make the step up to professional first-team football.
In other Tottenham news, the club have sensationally terminated the contract of one of their defenders.