Former Manchester United star and England legend Sir Bobby Charlton has died at the age of 86.
Charlton was a key member of the England team that won the World Cup in 1966 and also helped Manchester United to their first European Cup two years later. He is considered one of the greatest players of all time and won the Ballon d’Or in 1966 – going on to become one of just nine players to have won the World Cup, Champions League and Ballon d’Or.
Charlton, who had been suffering with dementia in later life, is England’s third-highest goalscorer with 49 strikes to his name, behind Wayne Rooney and record holder Harry Kane. He’s also United’s second-highest scorer with 249 goals, just four behind top-of-the-pile Rooney.
Bobby’s family released a statement on Saturday afternoon, confirming his passing. “It is with great sadness that we share the news that Sir Bobby passed peacefully in the early hours of Saturday morning,” it read. “He was surrounded by his family. His family would like to pass on their thanks to everyone who has contributed to his care and for the many people who have loved and supported him. We would request that the family’s privacy be respected at this time.”
United released their own statement shortly after, which read: “Manchester United are in mourning following the passing of Sir Bobby Charlton, one of the greatest and most beloved players in the history of our club. Sir Bobby was a hero to millions, not just in Manchester, or the United Kingdom, but wherever football is played around the world. He was admired as much for his sportsmanship and integrity as he was for his outstanding qualities as a footballer; Sir Bobby will always be remembered as a giant of the game.
Charlton’s tragic death means West Ham legend Sir Geoff Hurst is the only surviving member of the England squad that won the World Cup 57 years ago, when he scored a hat-trick in a 4-2 win over West Germany. It also comes just over three years after the passing of his older brother Jack, who was part of the same World Cup-winning squad.