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Kevin Campbell: Former Arsenal and Everton striker dies aged 54

Kevin Campbell played up front for Arsenal, Nottingham Forest and Everton among others in an almost 20-year career at the top; Campbell scored 148 goals in 542 games; the Lambeth-born forward then enjoyed a successful media career

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Tributes pour in for former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell who has passed away aged 54

Kevin Campbell has died aged 54, his former club Arsenal have confirmed.

Campbell played up front for clubs including Arsenal, Nottingham Forest and Everton, scoring 148 goals in 542 club games across an almost 20-year career at the top.

Arsenal statement on Campbell

An Everton statement added: "Everyone at Everton is deeply saddened by the death of our former striker Kevin Campbell at the age of just 54. Not just a true Goodison Park hero and icon of the English game, but an incredible person as well - as anyone who ever met him will know. RIP, Super Kev."

After hanging up his boots in May 2007, Campbell went on to enjoy a successful media career working for, among others, Sky Sports.

Kevin Campbell speaks on alleged racist abuse surrounding Raheem Sterling
Image: After hanging up his boots in May 2007, Campbell went on to enjoy a successful media career working for, among others, Sky Sports

Sky Sports News paid tribute to Campbell: "Kevin Campbell was a superb striker and a fans favourite everywhere he played. Latterly, he was a genuine friend and colleague to everyone at Sky Sports News where he brought tremendous warmth and energy to his insights and punditry.

"Kevin and his dickie bows every Thursday on The Football Show will remain in our fondest of memories. Our thoughts are with his family and friends and all those football fans who loved him."

The Lambeth-born forward began his career with Arsenal, who he made his debut for in May 1988, going on to win the First Division title (1990-91), FA Cup and League Cup (1992-93) and the European Cup Winners' Cup (1993-94) with the north London club.

Campbell - whose son Tyrese played for Stoke City between 2018 and 2024 - scored 60 goals in 224 appearances for George Graham's Gunners side, before joining Forest in the summer of 1995, while he also spent the 1998-99 season at Trabzonspor.

Image: Campbell scored 60 goals in 224 appearances for Arsenal

However, his time in Turkey was short-lived, with Everton initially bringing him back to the Premier League on loan in March 1999 to aid their relegation battle.

And Campbell's impressive return of nine goals in eight league outings saved the club from the drop, while also earning him a permanent £3m move to Goodison Park that summer.

Campbell (right) made 325 appearances in the Premier League, scoring 83 goals
Image: Campbell is Everton's fifth highest Premier League goal scorer

The striker ended his seven-year stay on Merseyside as the Toffees' fifth-highest Premier League goal scorer, including famously netting the winner against Liverpool at Anfield in 1999.

Campbell also played for both West Bromwich Albion (2005-06) - helping to keep the Baggies in the Premier League that campaign - and Cardiff City (2006-07), while he also scored one goal in four England U21 appearances between 1990 and 1992.

Campbell has been described as "my idol" and a "one in a million person" by son Tyrese after his death at the age of 54.

The former Arsenal and Everton striker, a title and FA Cup winner with the Gunners and a hero at Goodison Park after saving the Toffees from relegation in 1999, died after a short illness.

"I appreciate my dad was admired by many and the outpouring of love has been some comfort as a family, so thank you for that at such a difficult time," former Stoke striker Tyrese said in a message released on his behalf by journalist Alan Myers.

"The pain of this is indescribable and as a son you look at your dad as invincible. He is my idol, the one I wanted to be when I grew up.

"He was the life and soul of every party and room he blessed, a one in a million person that was loved by everyone, a special, special person. I'll miss you dad.

"I would now ask that the privacy of our family is respected as we mourn the loss of an irreplaceable father, brother, uncle and all round amazing human being. Love you always dad."

'Kevin meant so much to so many fans'

Black Footballers Partnership said in a statement:

“We are all devastated by the news that BFP Member Kevin Campbell passed away this morning.

"Our condolences to his family and the people of Brixton, Lambeth who have lost one of their greatest sons.

"Kevin meant so much to so many fans across the country - especially Arsenal, Everton, Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City who he played for in his stellar career.

"We are going to miss him dearly. May he rest in eternal peace. We love and will miss you Kevin.”

Former England captain and Everton teammate Wayne Rooney wrote on X: "Absolutely devastated to hear the news about Kev.

"Thinking of all his family and friends. Kev was a great team-mate but more importantly a brilliant person who helped me a lot in my earlier years."

A Premier League statement said: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Kevin Campbell, the former Arsenal, Nottingham Forest, Everton and West Brom striker.

"Our thoughts and condolences are with Kevin's family, friends and those associated with the clubs he played for."

'He always had a smile on his face' - Former team-mate Smith remembers Campbell

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Former Arsenal team-mate Alan Smith pays heartfelt tribute to Campbell following news of his passing

Former Arsenal team-mate Alan Smith pays heartfelt tribute to Campbell on Sky Sports News:

"It's devastating. We knew Kevin was seriously ill but we hoped he could fight his way through it because he was a fighter.

"I've spoken to a lot of his team-mates and all the boys are absolutely heartbroken. A sad, sad day.

"He'd come across from the youth team at Arsenal to train with the first team sometimes because he was clearly a lad with potential. He was a big lad even then as a teenager and he was so strong. I always remember the likes of Steve Bould and Tony Adams always having to work hard when Kev came across. He had that enthusiasm and he obviously wanted to make a mark to get into that first-team squad permanently.

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Following his tragic passing, take a look back at Paul Merson's first impression of Campbell when they played alongside at Arsenal

"He also had a lovely way about him as well. He always had a smile on his face, and he had a really positive attitude. It's not surprising that he went on to forge such a successful career.

"He came of age in the 1990/91 season. He came into the team and scored some important goals. I played up front with him and he was a wonderful strike partner to have. He was a hard worker and popular with all his team-mates.

"Off the pitch, you see the photos of that big smiley personality. He was warm-hearted. He was a south London boy made good and he appreciated it. He never took it for granted to be where he was."

'Campbell a special man'

Sky Sports News' Alan Myers:

"The first time I met him, and I was press officer at Everton at the time, he'd come from Trabzonspor on loan. Everton were in a bit of a mess at the bottom of the table, and he came into the dressing room, and you felt the whole place lift.

"His personality was such that you couldn't help but be affected by him, his positivity and the special way he lifted people.

"Kevin bought into Everton straight away. He loved an underdog and was always ready to fight. That was his strength because he would always stick up for the underdog, and you don't forget those things when people support you.

"He was such a fighter. Right up until the end he was such a fighter. He would never give up. He was such a special man.

"In football, not many people stay in touch. One thing about Kevin was he'd never lose touch with you. I left Everton in 2001 and he gave me his Everton captain's armband, which I still have today, and he wrote a message on the back of it. Little touches like that were so vital.

"The players loved him. He was such a team player and that was the fascination from the point of view of the fans. If you spoke to any Everton fan, or any fans of any of his teams, you'd get the sense of the character of the guy.

"He was a big man in every sense. He was big in physique, big in character, in personality, but most of all, he was big in heart. That's how I will remember him."

'Adored by everyone' - The football world pays tribute to Campbell...

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