Wales national team manager found dead at age of 42

Updated: 2011-11-28 17:18


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Wales national team manager found dead at age of 42

Wales' manager Gary Speed is seen gesturing during their Euro 2012 Group G qualifying soccer match against Montenegro in Cardiff, Wales in this September 2, 2011 file photograph. Gary Speed, the Wales football manager, has died, local media reported on Nov 27, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

LONDON - Gary Speed, the manager of the Wales national team, was found dead on Sunday at the age of 42, the Football Association of Wales (FAW) said in a statement.

Cheshire police in Northwest England, where Speed lived, said in a statement that a 42-year-old man had been found hanged at his home and that there were no suspicious circumstances.

Wales national team manager found dead at age of 42

Bolton Wanderers' Gary Speed is seen reacting after a Manchester United goal during the English Premier League soccer match at Old Trafford in Manchester in this December 31, 2005 file photograph. [Photo/Agencies]

Tributes poured in from hundreds of colleagues and former team mates while thousands of fans made their feelings known when they burst into spontaneous applause during a minute's silence in Speed's memory before the start of Swansea City's match with Aston Villa in the Premier League.

The FAW said in a statement: "That this tragedy should have overtaken someone so young and talented is a huge loss not only for his family and friends but a nation as a whole.

"We extend our sympathies and condolences to the family. We ask that everyone respects the family's privacy at this very sad time."

Speed, who was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for services to football last year, leaves a wife and two sons.

Wales First Minister Carwyen Jones said the news was "devastating" and that he was deeply saddened, adding: "our thoughts are with his family at what must be a very difficult time for them."

Speed played for Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield United in a playing career that spanned 22 seasons and he became Wales manager last December.

He was a member of the Leeds team that won the last First Division title in 1992, before the start of the Premier League, and he became the first player to make 500 Premier League appearances during his time at Bolton in Dec. 2006. He retired after making 535 appearances in the Premier League.

He also made 85 appearances for Wales between 1990 and 2004, becoming their most capped outfield player and second highest overall behind goalkeeper Neville Southall.

He then turned to management - briefly with Sheffield United as player-manager then with Wales from last December. Although Wales were eliminated from the race for the Euro 2012 finals, they had won their last three internationals and there were signs of real improvement under Speed's guidance.

Wales national team manager found dead at age of 42

Manchester City's Nicolas Anelka (L) is seen being challenged by Newcastle United's Gary Speed during their English premier league soccer match at the City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester in this May 1, 2004 file photograph. [Photo/Agencies]