Macclesfield midfielder Richard Butcher dies

Macclesfield's Richard Butcher has died, aged 29.

The club have not disclosed the cause but the Northampton-born midfielder died at his home in Manchester last night.

The news comes just 10 months after manager Keith Alexander passed away.

The League Two outfit posted a brief statement on their club website which read: "It is with great sadness that we have to announce the untimely death earlier today of Richard Butcher.

"Richard passed away at his home in Manchester overnight.

"He was an exemplary professional and a thoroughly likeable young man.

"Our thoughts are with his wife and family at this very difficult time."

Professional Footballers Association chief executive Gordon Taylor expressed his anguish at the news and vowed to do anything he can to help Butcher's family.

"It is a terrible shock," Taylor told Press Association Sport.

"We've lost Adam Stansfield at Exeter and to lose Richard Butcher is just terrible and quite tragic and on behalf of all the members and staff at the PFA we wish to offer our most sincere condolences to his family at this terrible time and our prayers and thoughts are with them.

"We will be in contact with the family to see what help we can provide at this sad time."

Butcher started his career as a trainee for his home town club Northampton but left before making a first-team appearance.

A statement from the npower League Two club said: "Northampton Town Football Club are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former midfielder Richard Butcher at the age of just 29.

"Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Richard's family and friends at this very sad time."

Butcher was later signed by Alexander - who died last March at the age of 53 - at Peterborough in 2006 and the League One side were also quick to express their sadness.

A club statement said: "Butcher was well loved by everyone at London Road and our condolences go out to his friends and family at this difficult time."

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