Gary Speed death: Family 'overwhelmed by support'

 

Gary Speed's agent and friend, Hayden Evans, said his family had been overwhelmed by the support they have received following his death

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The family of Wales manager Gary Speed have been overwhelmed by the support they have received following his death, says his agent.

Hayden Evans said 42-year-old Speed's family wants to thank everyone who has sent messages of condolence and tributes in "a very difficult time".

"We have been overwhelmed by the support and it really has helped," said Mr Evans.

The manager was found at home on Sunday and leaves a wife and two children.

It is understood that he was found hanged. An inquest into his death is due to open on Tuesday.

Speaking outside the Speeds' Cheshire home on Monday afternoon, Mr Evans said: "Gary's family would sincerely like to thank all the people that have sent messages of condolence and tributes in what is a very difficult time.

"We would ask that the family are now given the respect of some privacy to just grieve on their own."

'No signs'

Meanwhile Speed's friends and colleagues have spoken of their inability to understand events leading up to his death.

Start Quote

Gary's family would sincerely like to thank all the people that have sent messages of condolence and tributes in what is a very difficult time”

End Quote Hayden Evans Gary Speed's agent

Former Leeds team-mate Gary McAllister, who appeared with Speed on BBC One's Football Focus on Saturday lunchtime, said the news of his death had "turned me to jelly".

"He was the normal Gary Speed to me," said McAllister. "He was very excited about the prospects of the Welsh national team and was upbeat, looking class, immaculately presented.

"There were no signs, nothing to suggest he was troubled. He looked well and things are going well for him at the moment. I could never have thought that 10-12 hours after I saw him I'd be getting that news. It's a nightmare."

Football Association of Wales (FAW) chief executive Jonathan Ford said the shock and mystery surrounding the death would continue "for many years to come".

David Beckham says Gary Speed was outstanding as a player and manager

"He had so much passion and belief," said Mr Ford. "It is such a shame that he will not see the fruits of his labour."

Mr Ford also said he had been sent a letter from Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who told him the Welsh flag was flying at half mast over the governing body's headquarters in Zurich.

John Toshack, Speed's predecessor as Wales team manager, said he had spoken to him last week.

"This is very big loss, first for his family, then for the Football Association, for Wales and his fans," he said.

The FAW says it has opened a book of remembrance at its offices in Cardiff which will be open from 09:00 to 16:00 GMT.

'Massive shock'

Figures across the world of football expressed their shock.

David Beckham joined tributes to "an amazing, talented player", while Wales and Tottenham star Gareth Bale said the death was a "massive shock" and the Wales team would carry on "in his honour".

Fans across the country have been paying their respects to Wales manager Gary Speed

The flags outside the Welsh assembly in Cardiff Bay are flying at half-mast as a mark of respect, and a call has been made for a minute's silence during Tuesday's plenary session in the debating chamber.

Speed enjoyed a long and distinguished playing career which included periods with Everton, Newcastle, Bolton, Sheffield United and Leeds, where he won the First Division title in 1992, the year before it became the Premier League.

Gary Speed Speed won 85 international caps in a long and distinguished playing career

He was also Wales' most capped outfield player, winning 85 international caps, and managed Sheffield United before becoming Wales boss in December 2010.

After a difficult start, Wales' 4-1 friendly win over Norway on 12 November was his side's third successive win.

Cheshire Police said on Sunday that Speed's body was discovered at his home in Huntington, near Chester, on the outskirts of Chester.

Officers said there were no suspicious circumstances.

 

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  • Comment number 125.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

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    Comment number 124.

    I have sat and read through a number of comments on here about Gary Speed. It upsets me so much that people can be so dismissive of mental illness. If Mental Illness wasn't such a taboo subject in this country then many more may get the help they need without feeling they will get laughed at or judged and those kids may still have their dad today x

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    Comment number 123.

    VeniVediVocali - perhaps I am "deeply prejudice" towards people that bring religion into every topic. Religion is responsible for more fighting and death than anything else. Your argument is no different - when something good happens it is God's will and we should praise him - when something bad happens it's because he gave us free will, or "he moves in mysterious ways." What a nonsense.

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    Comment number 122.

    My heart goes out to Gary's family at this very sad time. I hope following this very sad loss that more people can find it within them to understand this devastating silent ilness that so many suffer from. My sister works at Sheffield Utd and said what a lovely guy he was. God bless all his family and friends and may you find peace in the future sharing your happies of Gary x

  • rate this
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    Comment number 121.

    So sorry to hear this news yesterday. It makes you realise that celebrities and sportsmen have there own problems in life although we sometimes put them on a pedestal. I feel so sorry for his family and also for the fact that he didnt seek any help from his many many friends. I will miss you Gary.

 

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