LONDON: Ray Wilkins, respected former England, Chelsea, Milan and Manchester United midfielder, has died at 61.
Wilkins, who was capped 84 times by his country and was captain on 10 occasions, suffered a heart attack last week and passed away at St George’s Hospital in Tooting on Wednesday morning.
Born on September 14, 1956, in Hillingdon, Wilkins was one of the finest midfielders of his era and played at two World Cups.
Wilkins, nicknamed ‘Butch’, also represented AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Rangers and QPR.
He began his managerial career as player-boss at QPR and, having retired from playing in 1997, he subsequently managed Fulham and the Jordan national team, and was an assistant boss for Chelsea and England U21s. Wilkins has also worked as a co-commentator and media pundit.
A family statement read: “It is with great sadness we announce that Raymond Colin Wilkins passed away this morning. We would like to thank St George’s staff for the amazing work they have done to care for our beloved Ray.
“We would also like to say thank you for the many goodwill messages we have received from Ray’s friends, colleagues, and members of the public.
“Ray leaves behind his loving wife, Jackie, daughter Jade, son Ross, and his beautiful grandchildren, Oliver, Frankie, Ava, Freddie, Jake and Archie. We are asking for privacy at this very difficult time.”
Wilkins played for 11 clubs in total and had short stints towards the end of his career with Crystal Palace, Wycombe Wanderers, Hibernian, Millwall and Leyton Orient.
But he is often associated with Chelsea, where he spent six years as a player, served numerous stints as assistant manager, and once led the side on a caretaker basis. As assistant to Carlo Ancelotti, he played a part in Chelsea’s first Premier League and FA Cup double in 2010.
He was an FA Cup winner with Manchester United in 1983, scoring a memorable goal in the 2-2 draw with Brighton (United won the replay) and was a Scottish title winner with Rangers in 1989.