Last updated at 12:49 PM on 27th November 2011
Wales manager Gary Speed has been found hanged at his home in Cheshire, it was revealed today.
The former Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle and Bolton star, who appeared on BBC's Football Focus show yesterday, was aged 42.
Police say there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death. It is believed to be suicide.
Former Wales manager Gary Speed during the preliminary draw for the 2014 Fifa World Cup at Marina Da Gloria in July
In a statement released on their website, The Football Association of Wales said: 'The Football Association of Wales are sad to announce the death of the national team manager Gary Speed.
'We extend our sympathies and condolences to the family. We ask that everyone respects the family's privacy at this very sad time.'
A Cheshire Police spokesman said: 'At 7.08am today Cheshire Police was informed of a sudden death at an address in Huntingdon, Chester.
‘Officers went to the scene where a 42-year-old man was found dead. The next of kin have been informed and have confirmed the identity of the man as Gary Speed.
Tragic: Gary Speed (right) and England manager Fabio Capello watch from the touchline during the Euro 2012 qualifying match between England and Wales at Wembley Stadium on September 6
Mr Speed during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Swansea City at Anfield on November 5
'There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and the family have requested that they are left to grieve in peace.
'The death will now be a matter for the coroner.'
Earlier this week Mr Speed's young side were handed a series of tough World Cup fixtures in their bid to reach Brazil 2014.
After hearing of the news, Manchester United striker Michael Owen, who lives near the star, tweeted: 'Just cannot believe the news regarding Gary Speed. We waved at each other a couple of days ago dropping our kids off at school. I'm numb.'
Former Wales captain Gary Speed (right) wheels away after scoring the opening goal against Azerbaijan in 2004
Mr Speed was a guest on the BBC's Football Focus show on Saturday with host Dan Walker.
Today, Mr Walker tweeted: 'Staggered by the news of Gary Speed's death.
'Was with him for most of yesterday. I genuinely cannot believe it.
"Thoughts with his family.'
Mr Speed - who was with Gary McAllister on the show - told Walker that there was nothing like playing football.
Originally posted by Rock^Star:
It's kind of shocking, some people you talk to not too long ago and then next thing you hear, they're gone. Well, what to do. Life goes on.
.....especially they don't show any signs. Wonder how the supporters react when Swansea is playing Aston Villa in Wales at this present moment.
Former Wales international teammate of Gary Speed Robbie Savage on BBC News: "I spoke to him yesterday and he was in high spirits. I just can't believe it. He was my mate and he's gone. He's left two gorgeous kids behind. Gary was [a professional]. He was one of the fittest guys. He looked after his body. He was a great team-mate, a great manager. He was joking yesterday [about Robbie being onStrictly Come Dancing], saying don't get a two off Craig [Revel Horwood]"Edited by NeverSayGoodBye 27 Nov `11, 10:27PM
Originally posted by Rooney_07:
must be depression lar. remember that german goalie who committed suicide before the world cup?
when you are depressed, there is no light at the end of the tunnel for you. the only way out is being dead.
.....don't think depressed over football matter. Wales is improving after he took over, he got such promising players like Gareth Bale(Spurs) and Aaron Ramsey ( Arsenal) at his disposal.
Some of the responses;
Former Wales international teammate of Gary Speed, Robbie Savage on BBC Radio 5 live: "I loved him as a friend. His wife is beautiful, he had a lovely family. He'd do anything for anybody. Football and family were Gary's life. I idolised him. He was one of my heroes in life. Everybody loved Gary Speed. It's so sad he couldn't talk to people. He was such a good looking guy, he had everything. Why has this happened?"
Dan Walker, who presented Football Focus, with Gary Speed as a guest, yesterday: "He was as bubbly as I've known him. He was talking about his kids how they were really coming on and talking about playing golf next week. Even small things like how he'd just got into Twitter. It's awful to think someone who was so gifted and so well liked with the rest of his life to look forward to has been cruelly removed. He was in such a good mood about the show and said he'd love to come back before Christmas, he said: 'I really enjoyed it.'"
Kevin Blackwell, who Speed succeeded as Sheffield United manager: "Gary was developing a plan [at Wales]. The first few games they weren't very good but he knew that. He was very excited about the players he had with Wales. He knew he could turn it around. They were playing some terrific stuff under Gary. He was a great raconteur. He was a first-class man. He leaves behind such a legacy. The feeling about the man is unbelievable. I just feel sick. It doesn't seem right. It's a sad loss for football."
BBC Wales football reporter Rob Phillips: "The whole of the sporting world are united in their grief."
Former Wales international team-mate of Speed Ryan Giggs on the Manchester United website: "I am totally devastated. Gary Speed was one of the nicest men in football and someone I am honoured to call a team-mate and friend. Words cannot begin to describe how sad I feel at hearing this awful news. It goes without saying my thoughts are with his family at this tremendously sad time."
Leeds manager Simon Grayson: "We signed on the same day and played in the youth and reserve teams together. We also did all our coaching badges together. He was a good friend and this is a very sad day. Gary was such a popular person and this is a hard time for everybody."
Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn: "I'm absolutely shocked. I can't believe the news. I've seen Gary around at some of the grounds. He was doing a fabulous job for his country. Welsh football has been down in the dumps for a long time but they've got some terrific players coming through. He was very fit and energetic. A midfield dynamo. He was terrific on the ball and scored goals for all the clubs he was at."
whatever problems one faced, if you have a family, wife and young kids, you should think of them, what happens when you die, what will happen to them, who will support and take care of them?
obviously he didnt consider this before committing suicide, as he is unable to think rationally due to his depression state of mind.
Originally posted by Rooney_07:
.....easy to say when you're not in his position. When you reached the end of the rope, sooner or later you gotta let go. As you hold on to the rope, what you see is a bottomless dark pit. All hope is gone.
there is no support group for footballers or ex footballers suffering depression. as it is a macho's game, the dressing room doesnt allow for perceived weaklings, so you need to look tough and strong on the exterior.
although they are multi millionaires, rich and famous, but they are also mere mortals. there is still a stigma attached to it when you are to see a psychiatrist.
Gary Speed 'was not depressed... he was happily married'
Gary Speed was not depressed and had not argued with his wife before being found hanged at his home, according to a close friend.
The Wales manager’s agent and best man Hayden Evans said Speed was ‘happily married’ and that his widow Louise is bewildered by his suspected suicide.
Mr Evans said: ‘They were happily married and anyone who knows them will tell you that. This is why it is a mystery.
‘We genuinely at the moment have no clue whatsoever what has caused it and I have been with the family all day.
‘Everybody is asking the same question and no one has an answer. We are all in shock.’
The final picture: Gary Speed poses with a fan outisde the BBC studios in Salford. Hours later he was found dead
When asked if 42-year-old Speed had suffered bouts of depression, Mr Evans told The Sun ‘none whatsoever’.
He added: ‘The one thing the family and me as one of his closest friends would totally refute is that. There was no indication of any problems and never has been’.
Speed appeared happy as he left BBC studios in Salford on Saturday afternoon after filming Football Focus. His wife found him hanged in the garage of their £1.5million mansion near Chester just after 7am on Sunday.
Yesterday, as tributes continued to pour in from across the sporting world to the popular Welshman, police were preparing for the delicate task of speaking to his 40-year-old wife and their two teenage sons.
Gary Speed, with his wife Louise, earlier this year at Shay Given's Fashion Kicks event held at Lancashire County Cricket Club
As they struggled to come to terms with his shock death, Mr Evans spoke of how they had been ‘overwhelmed’ by the outpouring of sympathy over the past 24 hours.
‘Gary’s family would sincerely like to thank all the people who have sent messages of condolence and tributes in what is a very difficult time,’ said Mr Evans.
Speaking outside the family’s home, he added: ‘They have been overwhelmed by the support – it really has helped. You can imagine how Louise is feeling.’
A pile of tributes including flowers, footballs and soccer shirts was growing at the gates at the end of the star’s drive last night as a steady stream of fans came to pay their respects.
Yesterday officials at the Welsh Football Association promised to support the family and offer them a ‘shoulder to cry on’ in the coming weeks.
‘I’ve no understanding of why it happened, I don’t know the answer and I don’t think we ever will,’ said chief executive Jonathan Ford.
‘At the moment our thoughts aren’t with that – they are with Gary’s family.
‘He was a family man, he loved his wife and children.
‘We will do whatever we can to help Louise and the boys.’
Both Speed’s sons are promising sportsmen, 14-year-old Ed a talented footballer and his 13-year-old brother Tommy a keen boxer.
Also yesterday shocked fans of the clubs Speed represented over his long career – including Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle and Bolton Wanderers – left photographs, shirts and bouquets of flowers outside their grounds.
Cheshire Police confirmed that Speed’s death was being treated as ‘non-suspicious’.
An inquest will be opened and adjourned today in Warrington.
Shocked friends have told how he seemed happy and planning for the future when he appeared as a guest on Football Focus which was filmed in Salford on Saturday - an account borne out by the photograph of him beaming alongside a delighted fan.
It was taken as he walked out of the studios with former teammate Gary McAllister at 2.30pm.
And yet just after 7am on Sunday, his wife is understood to have made the horrifying discovery of his body hanging in the garage of their home.
Speed's widow, Louise, 40, was a constant figure of support throughout his career.
Speed’s parents Roger and Carol were being comforted by family and friends at their neat semi-detached home in nearby Queensferry.
A friend said: ‘The family are far too upset to say anything at this terrible time.’
Shocked fans of the clubs Speed represented over his long career – including Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle and Bolton Wanderers – left photographs, shirts and bouquets of flowers outside their grounds.
At the Welsh Assembly building in Cardiff, flags were flying at half-mast.
Paying their respects: Fans at Leeds United's ground Elland Road show their grief at former player Gary Speed's death
Tributes: Hundreds of tributes including photographs, shirts and bouquets of flowers have been left at the Elland Road ground
Rest in Peace: Mourners leave flowers at Gary Speed's house in Cheshire, left. Right: A decorated T-shirt is left on the ground as tributes are placed at the Billy Bremner statue outside Elland Road
Prime Minister David Cameron described Gary Speed's death as 'incredibly moving'.
'I was watching Match Of The Day last night and watching people, crowds, absolutely silent and footballers revering his memory,' he said.
'I think it has been extremely moving. Obviously here in the north, where he played for so many of the iconic teams, I know he meant an enormous amount to people and people feel very, very sad on his behalf and on his family's behalf.'
During Football Focus on BBC1, Speed talked enthusiastically about his team’s improving fortunes and his hopes for success in World Cup qualifying matches next year.
Presenter Dan Walker, who spent four hours on and off camera with him, said: ‘He was as bubbly as I’ve known him. He was talking about his kids, how they were really coming on, and talking about playing golf next week.
‘Even small things like how he’d just got into Twitter. It’s awful to think someone who was so gifted and so well liked with the rest of his life to look forward to has been cruelly removed. He was in such a good mood about the show and said he’d love to come back before Christmas.’
A book of remembrance was opened at the FAW headquarters in Cardiff and hundreds queued up to sign it.
Speed's assistant manager Raymond Verheijen said his boss was 'adored' by Wales stars such as Gareth Bale, Craig Bellamy and Aaron Ramsey.
He said: 'I remember him as a beautiful person, a very stable person full of energy.
'Every time he stepped into a room he energised the place. You could see the players adored him. They really looked up to him.
'He was the perfect example of practise what you preach and the players really followed him.
'When we sat down with one player for individual talks you could how open the players were to listen to his advice.'
Paying his respects: Former Everton player Graeme Sharp looks at tributes left outside the gates to Goodison Park
Never forget: A Newcastle scarf is tied to the entrance to his Cheshire home
Respects: A book of condolences in memory of Gary Speed is opened at the Football of Wales offices in Cardiff
Speed went to the same school as former England star Michael Owen, Hawarden High School, where he met his future wife.
Yesterday staff paid tribute, saying he had regularly taken the time to return and help inspire pupils.
‘He remained in contact with the school and was generous in giving of his time to attend a number of presentations,’ said head teacher Roger Davies.
‘As manager of our national team, Gary presented himself as a superb role model for the young people in our community.
‘We extend our deepest condolences to his family at this sad time.’
Cheshire Police confirmed that Speed’s death was being treated as ‘non-suspicious’. An inquest will be opened and adjourned today in Warrington.
‘As part of the coroner's report they will speak to family members,’ a spokesman said. ‘It is normal procedure.'
Robbie Savage, who played alongside Speed for Wales, said his former teammate had been ribbing him on Saturday about his appearance on Strictly Come Dancing.
‘I just can’t believe it,’ said Savage. ‘He was my mate and he’s gone. I’ve got very close to Gary in the last few years – the guy is a trooper, he’s left two gorgeous kids behind and a beautiful wife. He had everything
Players and fans held a minute's silence in memory of the Wales manager before the match between Swansea City and Aston Villa
Respect: The Kop falls silent as Manchester City and Liverpool players pay their respects to Gary Speed before their Premier League match
I spoke to him yesterday and we were laughing and joking – he was saying make sure you don’t get a (mark of) two off Craig (Revel Horwood, the Strictly judge) tonight. That’s what Gary’s like – he always thinks about other people.
‘As my captain when I was a young boy in the squad, he’d come to me and I could go to him with my problems.’
Speed’s former Newcastle United teammate Shay Given, who attended a charity fundraising fashion event with him in May, was seen in floods of tears on television as a minute’s silence was held at Swansea City’s match against Given’s team Aston Villa.
Thousands of fans sang Welsh hymns and joined in the chant ‘there’s only one Gary Speed’.
At Anfield, Liverpool’s Welsh star Craig Bellamy asked not to play against Manchester City after hearing the news.
Speed, who was awarded an MBE in the 2010 Birthday Honours, retired from playing only last year after winning 85 caps for his country.
He represented Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle and Bolton Wanderers during his long career.
Both Speed’s parents were from Chester but he was born in the Welsh border town of Mancot and was always proud to represent his country. His father Roger played football for Wrexham before returning to his trade as a joiner.
Speed made his league debut for Leeds United in May 1989 and was a member of the team which went on to win the league title in 1992.
He was a familiar face in his home village and at the Grosvenor Arms pub in nearby Aldford.
Neighbour Stephen Smith, 36, said: ‘It is such a shock. I’m an Everton season ticket holder and shouted his name from the terraces at Goodison Park.’
Helen Hewitt, who has a cottage near Speed’s mansion, said: ‘I cannot believe it. He was such a lovely man.
‘Parcels would be delivered for him here and he would come and collect them.
‘He would always wave from his big, black Jaguar car.’
Despite having limited experience as a manager, Gary Speed’s impact on the Welsh national team had been dramatic
Pundit: Gary appearing on Football Focus with Gary McAllister hours before he was found dead. The Welsh national manager had appeared happy and optimistic
Tragic Gary Speed receiving his MBE from Prince Charles in December last year (right) and on the touchline for Wales (left
Gary Speed's former agent and best man Hayden Evans addresses the press outside Speed's home in Chester. He asks that the family be left alone to grieve for their loss
Tragedy: Chief executive of the Football Association of Wales Jonathan Ford and President of the Football Association of Wales, Phil Pritchard, tell a press conference they will be supporting Gary Speed's family in the coming days
Distraught: Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given, left, who played with Speed at Newcastle, burst into tears before his side's game against Swansea. Right, Hugo Viana, another former Newcastle teammate who now plays in Portugal, pays his respects
Former Wales teammate Robbie Savage speaking about the death of Gary Speed on BBC News
Mr Speed's family home in Cheshire, where he was found dead at the age of 42
In mourning: The home where Mr Speed lived with his wife Louise and two teenage children
Respect: A note left on a Wales shirt outside Cardiff City's stadium
Cardiff City: A couple embrace as they look at tributes to Wales manager Gary Speed left outside Cardiff's ground
FOOTBALL STARS PAY THEIR RESPECTS TO SPEED ON TWITTER
Gary Speed's former teammates and opponents have been paying tribute to him after he was discovered dead on Sunday.
Rio Ferdinand tweeted: 'RIP Gary Speed - a great professional. Never knew him but seemed a real decent fella. Thoughts go out to the family at a devastating time. '
Joey Barton said: 'Really felt for Shay Given there. Know he was really close to Speedo. Very emotional that, true professional, its what GS would of wanted.'
Stan Collymore wrote: 'Sincere condolences from my family to Mr & Mrs Speed and Gary's 2 boys. Frightened and confused as I'm sure many are right now.'
Lee Dixon tweeted: 'In the States. Heard the tragic news very late. Totally shocking. A true Pro. A pleasure to be in his company. Thoughts to Gary's family.'
Tom Huddlestone wrote: 'RIP Gary Speed!! Thoughts to his family and friends!! 1st shirt I swapped in the premier league, when he was at bolton £perspective Don't take things for granted!! RIP Gary Speed.'
Micah Richards said: 'R.I.P gary speed!!! A true legend!!!'
Mark Bright tweeted: 'Today feels like one huge nightmare, can't process Gary Speed's death, 42yrs old, his job going well, couple young kids, seems so wrong.'
Boy George tweeted: 'Shocking about Gary Speed! What a sad story! My thoughts and prayers to his loved ones!'
Comedian John Bishop tweeted: 'Enjoyed the day at the match but the Gary Speed news really does put it in perspective. God bless to him and his family