Liverpool greats Kenny Dalglish, Alan Hansen and Ian Rush led the tributes to Gary Ablett, the former Liverpool and Everton defender who died on New Year's Day at the age of 46 after a 16-month battle with cancer.
Rush described the Liverpool-born Ablett as a "true Scouser", while Hansen called him a "dedicated, consummate professional".
Dalglish handed Ablett, who joined the club as an apprentice, his debut in 1986 during his first spell as manager. Ablett went on to win two league titles and an FA Cup with Liverpool before joining Everton for £750,000 in 1992, where he won a second FA Cup to become the only player to lift the trophy for both clubs.
"He was a really good servant to the club, not only as a player but also as reserve-team coach," Dalglish said. "He served the club proudly and credibly. It's very sad."
Ablett, who also played for Birmingham City and managed Stockport County, had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2010, soon after taking a coaching role with Ipswich.
Hansen said: "He was a lovely guy and quite unassuming. It is such a shock even though we knew he was ill. We are absolutely stunned and cannot believe this has happened. [To die at] 46 years of age is absolutely tragic."
Rush said: "He sums up what people are like in Liverpool. What you saw is what you got with Gary. Whoever he played for, he gave 100 per cent. That's rare these days. In those days people just saw him as a normal player, but I think in today's game he'd be right up there."
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