Tributes paid to England World Cup hero Jack Charlton who is dead at 85

Jack Charlton has died aged 85 (Picture: PA)

Tributes have poured in for former England and Leeds defender Jack Charlton who has died aged 85.

The legendary footballer, who won a World Cup winner’s medal in 1966, had been diagnosed with lymphoma in the last year and was also battling dementia.

Prime minister Boris Johnson described him on Twitter as “a great whose achievements brought happiness to so many”.

Charlton’s England teammate Geoff Hurst added “the world of football and the world beyond football has lost one of its greats.”

Charlton’s golden moment as a player came at Wembley in 1966 when he and brother Bobby were team-mates in England’s World Cup win against West Germany after extra time.

The towering defender did not win his first international cap until he was 29, in 1965, and played his 35th and final match for his country in the 1970 World Cup finals in Mexico in a group game against Czechoslovakia.

He inspired generations of England players that came after him including former Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney who also paid tribute to him. 

Rooney, who is now player-coach at Derby County, posted a picture of Charlton holding the World Cup, writing: “Sad to hear that legend Jack Charlton has passed away. Condolences to Bobby and family.”

Charlton spent his entire 21-year playing career at Leeds, making a joint club record 773 appearances, before retiring as a player in 1973 and going on to enjoy a successful and colourful career as a manager.

He was in charge of several teams including Newcastle and the Republic of Ireland, who he guided to their first major finals at Euro 88 and two more in the space of 10 years.

Ex-England international Gary Lineker added: “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.”

Leeds United's Jack Charlton, right, challenges his brother Manchester United's Bobby Charlton (Picture: PA)

A family statement read: “Jack died peacefully on Friday, July 10 at the age of 85. He was at home in Northumberland, with his family by his side.

“As well as a friend to many, he was a much-adored husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

.“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 Premier League said footballers would wear black armbands and observe a minute’s silence before games this weekend.

The England football team added it was devastated by the news Charlton had died.

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