By Felix Ifijeh
England 1966 World Cup hero Jack Charlton has died at the age of 85.
The former defender passed away at his Northumberland home on Friday after suffering from dementia and lymphoma.
Charlton, who played for Leeds United with distinction for 21 years and later managed the Republic of Ireland, was the brother of fellow England great Bobby.
A statement from the Charlton family announcing his death expressed how proud they were at their ‘much-adored husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.’
They added he died peacefully with his family by his side.
The statement from the Charlton family continued: ‘We cannot express how proud we are of the extraordinary life he led and the pleasure he brought to so many people in different countries and from all walks of life.
‘He was a thoroughly honest, kind, funny and genuine man who always had time for people.
‘His loss will leave a huge hole in all our lives but we are thankful for a lifetime of happy memories.’
The footballing legend is survived by his wife Pat Kemp and their three children.
His granddaughters, Kate and Emma Wilkinson, shared their own heartfelt tributes and photos on Twitter, with both saying he was a ‘kind and genuine’ man.
Charlton’s granddaughter Kate Wilkinson said in her Twitter tribute: Beyond sad to have to say goodbye to my beloved Grandad, Jack Charlton.
‘He enriched so many lives through football, friendship and family. He was a kind, funny and thoroughly genuine man and our family will miss him enormously.’
Her sister Emma added: ‘Yesterday was a very sad day. My grandad, Jack Charlton, died peacefully at home.
‘He was kind, playful and genuine, and I’ll miss him so much. Already seen many lovely messages in his honour. I’ll share them with his wife, my grandma Pat, to help her through this difficult time.’
Tributes also poured in from the footballing world for Charlton, who was widely regarded as one of the best defenders of his era.
Leeds, for whom Charlton played for his entire career, also said in a lengthy tribute to the former player that his ‘contribution to the game and Leeds United will never be forgotten.
‘He will remain in football folklore forever and his records at Leeds United are unlikely ever to be surpassed,’ they added.
Other leading figures in football also payed tribute to the star on Saturday.
Former England striker and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker tweeted: ‘Saddened to hear that Jack Charlton has passed away.
‘World Cup winner with England, manager of probably the best ever Ireland side and a wonderfully infectious personality to boot. RIP Jack.’
Lady Elsie Robson, the widow of former Ipswich, Barcelona and Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson and friend of Charlton, paid tribute to the former defender.
In a statement she said: ‘Jack was a great friend and a wonderful supporter of our cancer charity. He’d come out to events and meet with fundraisers, and people were always so thrilled to meet a World Cup winner.
‘He had such a way about him. He’d just make us all smile. I feel for Pat and the family after their great loss and they have our heartfelt sympathy.’
Charlton made a club record 773 appearances for Leeds over a span of 21 years between 1952 and 1973 and was regarded as one of the game’s finest defenders.
His defensive performances won Charlton the FWA Footballer of the Year award in 1967
He helped the Yorkshire club win the second division title in 1963-64 and then the first division in 1968-69.
This successful Leeds side also won the FA Cup in 1972, the League Cup in 1968 and two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups in 1968 and 1971.
Despite not being called into the England team until days before his 30th birthday, Charlton won 35 caps and, playing alongside younger brother Bobby, lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy at Wembley in 1966.
He also helped England finish third at the 1968 European Championship and in between was voted the FWA Footballer of the Year in 1967.
Charlton is remembered with affection for his achievements managing Republic of Ireland
After hanging up his boots, Charlton worked as a manager, taking Middlesbrough into the top-flight in 1974 before moving on to Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle United.
But he is most fondly remembered as Ireland’s manager for a decade from 1986 in which they reached the quarter-finals of the 1990 World Cup and also qualified for Euro 1988 and the 1994 World Cup.