Emlyn Hughes, a star on the pitch and the screen, dies aged 57

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The Independent Online

To football fans he will be remembered as the indomitable leader of the Reds. To many others, the defining memory of Emlyn Hughes will be of a jumper-wearing, quiz-show team captain being berated by Princess Anne for his spelling.

To football fans he will be remembered as the indomitable leader of the Reds. To many others, the defining memory of Emlyn Hughes will be of a jumper-wearing, quiz-show team captain being berated by Princess Anne for his spelling.

The footballer known as "Crazy Horse" was hailed as "one of the greats" after his death from cancer. He served as captain of Liverpool and England, as well as appearing on BBC1's A Question of Sport.

The 57-year-old star, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour 15 months ago, died at his home near Sheffield with his family around him. Despite extensive surgery and chemotherapy, his illness had left him confined to a wheelchair and with failing sight.

Tributes were paid from the worlds of football and entertainment for a man who made the transition from on-the-pitch success for club and country to the status of a household name beloved by, as he put it, "little old ladies". At its height, A Question of Sport was watched by up to 18 million people, hooked on its much-lampooned combination of sporting trivia and guest appearances by personalities such as the deadpan snooker player Steve Davis.

Hughes, who joined the show as team captain in 1979, later going head to head with the England rugby player Bill Beaumont during 120 appearances, achieved his greatest coup when the Princess Royal, then Princess Anne, took him to task for his poor spelling during a guest appearance. In an earlier show, he mistook a picture of the mud-spattered Princess after a horse-race for the Irish jockey John Reid.

Beaumont said yesterday: "He was just such a lovely and enthusiastic bloke. I've got fond memories of Emlyn. He liked the dressing-room humour, that mickey-taking, and he was trying to laugh at himself as well."

The career as a prime-time personality followed great success on the pitch for the son of an international rugby player born in Barrow-in-Furness. After joining Liverpool from Blackpool at 20, he went on to lead the Anfield club to a string of honours, including four league titles, two European Cups, a triumph in the FA Cup and two Uefa Cup titles. In a playing career which spanned nearly 20 years, as well as positions ranging from centre-forward to centre-back, he also captained England and earned 62 caps for his country. He was made OBE in 1980.

Phil Neal, his former Liverpool team-mate, said: "Emlyn was very special to us all. The Crazy Horse will be missed. His effervescent character and will to win every game rubbed off on us. It's so sad he was made to battle at the end of his short life."

Liverpool FC, which recalled his "unrelenting passion for the club whenever he had the Liver Bird close to his chest", is to hold a minute's silence in remembrance at tonight's Carling Cup match against Middlesbrough.

His diagnosis with cancer and an operation to remove the tumour did not dim his courage. He said: "I will keep on going. I feel good and the doctors have been brilliant. I've lost some of my hair but it does not bother me."

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