Manuel Preciado, who was due to be unveiled as the new coach of Villarreal tomorrow, has died of a heart attack, the Spanish club have confirmed.
Villarreal announced yesterday they had reached an agreement with Preciado to take charge of the club next season, with the 54-year-old set to be presented to the media tomorrow.
However, Villarreal said in a statement this morning "The coach Manuel Preciado died overnight in Valencia as a result of a heart attack.
"The Cantabrian, who had been chosen by Villarreal to lead next season's project, was 54 years old.
"Villarreal want to express their deepest sorrow at the sad loss and want to offer their condolences to his family and all his relatives."
Preciado parted company with former club Sporting Gijon in January following six years in charge of the Asturian outfit.
Preciado took over Sporting in the summer of 2006 and in his second season led them into the Primera Division for the first time in 10 years.
His record of 232 official matches in charge at El Molinon is second only to Jose Manuel Diaz Novoa, who sat in the Sporting hotseat for 282 games.
A statement on the Sporting website read: "With deepest regret, Sporting Gijon wish to express their sorrow at this sad loss, for someone who formed an integral part of this club's history, and send their deepest condolences to his family in this time of grief."
Prior to his time at Sporting, Preciado was coach of the likes of Racing Santander, Levante and Murcia, while as a player he represented Racing, Real Mallorca and Alaves among others.
Sporting were relegated from the Primera Division in the recently-completed season, as were Villarreal.