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Ray Wilkins dies aged 61

Ray Wilkins 1956-2018

Former England, Chelsea and Manchester United midfielder Ray Wilkins has died at the age of 61.

Wilkins, who was capped 84 times by his country and was captain on 10 occasions, suffered a heart attack last week and passed away at St George's Hospital in Tooting on Wednesday morning.

Born on September 14, 1956, in Hillingdon, Wilkins was one of the finest midfielders of his era and played at two World Cups.

Wilkins, nicknamed 'Butch', also represented AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Rangers and QPR with great distinction in his club career.

Football pays tribute to Ray Wilkins
Football pays tribute to Ray Wilkins

The football world remembers former England midfielder Ray Wilkins, who died on Wednesday aged 61.

He began his managerial career as player-boss at QPR and, having retired from playing in 1997, he subsequently managed Fulham and the Jordan national team, and was an assistant boss for Chelsea and England U21s.

Wilkins has also worked as a co-commentator and media pundit since retiring as a player.

The hospital has released a statement on behalf of his family which read: "It is with great sadness we announce that Raymond Colin Wilkins passed away this morning.

"We would like to thank St George's staff for the amazing work they have done to care for our beloved Ray.

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Gordon Strachan and Craig Bellamy paid their respects to Ray Wilkins on The Debate

"We would also like to say thank you for the many goodwill messages we have received from Ray's friends, colleagues, and members of the public.

"Ray leaves behind his loving wife, Jackie, daughter Jade, son Ross, and his beautiful grandchildren, Oliver, Frankie, Ava, Freddie, Jake and Archie.

"We are asking for privacy at this very difficult time."

Wilkins played for 11 clubs in total and had short stints towards the end of his career with Crystal Palace, Wycombe Wanderers, Hibernian, Millwall and Leyton Orient.

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Sky Sports colleague Jamie Redknapp describes how Ray Wilkins was one of his role models as he prepared for a life in football

But he is often associated with Chelsea, where he spent six years as a player, served numerous stints as assistant manager, and once led the side on a caretaker basis.

As assistant to Carlo Ancelotti, he played a part in Chelsea's first Premier League and FA Cup double in 2010.

He was an FA Cup winner with Manchester United in 1983, scoring a memorable goal in the 2-2 draw with Brighton (United won the replay) and was a Scottish title winner with Rangers in 1989.

Since his retirement from football Wilkins appeared as a regular and much-loved analyst on Sky Sports' football coverage and Sky Sports News.

Sky Sports Managing Director Barney Francis said: "Ray was a friend to everyone here at Sky Sports, and we are devastated by today's news. He was a wonderful footballer, a great coach and an insightful and entertaining broadcaster.

"Above all, Ray was a great man, terrific company and someone who was hugely popular with everyone in football. It is sudden and tragic and our hearts go out to his family."

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