Emlyn Hughes dies aged 57

By Tony Jones,Pa
Tuesday 09 November 2004 01:00

The former England and Liverpool captain Emlyn Hughes died early this morning aged 57, his family said today.

The former England and Liverpool captain Emlyn Hughes died early this morning aged 57, his family said today.

Hughes, who extended his fame as a television personality on the BBC's 'Question of Sport', had been battling a brain tumour for the last 15 months but deteriorated in the last few days.

His wife Barbara said: "He died at his home in Sheffield with his family around him."

Chemotherapy treatment had taken its toll on Hughes over the final months of his life. He had been left virtually unable to walk and his eyesight had also been affected.

He was originally diagnosed with the disease after collapsing at home in August last year.

Hughes will best be remembered for his impressive football career which began at Barrow-in-Furness and later led to 650 appearances for his beloved Liverpool.

During his career he won 62 England caps, captained his country 23 times and won two European Cups and five league championships. He was named Footballer of the Year in 1977.

Hughes worked for Yorkshire-based Real Radio as their main sports pundit for two and a half years.

After launching their Real Sports phone-in, he worked for the station until the end of last season when his illness forced him to stop.

Sports editor Lee Phelps said today: "Anyone who met him would know he was a complete one-off.

"In terms of the show, as soon as he said anything on air the phone lines would light up.

"As a pundit, he certainly wouldn't sit on the fence. He had strong views and if he thought a manager wasn't performing, he'd say so.

"Even when he found out he was ill, he stayed with the show for as long as possible, getting his family to drive him to our studios from his home.

"He said he loved being on the radio and that it gave him an added impetus to carry on."

Rick Parry, chief executive of Liverpool Football Club, said: "Our deepest sympathies go out to wife Barbara, children Emma and Emlyn junior, and the rest of the family at this sad time."

A club spokesman said: "Those lucky enough to see him play will recall his boundless enthusiasm, 100% commitment to the cause and unrelenting passion for the club whenever he had the Liver Bird close to his chest."

The club confirmed it will hold a one–minute silence before Wednesday's Carling Cup tie against Middlesbrough at Anfield.

Brian Barwick, controller of ITV Sport, said: "Emlyn was a great footballer and a terrific enthusiast with an infectious personality.

"He led both Liverpool and England with great pride and passion and became an equally successful TV presenter.

"My thoughts are with his family and friends."

Hughes was team captain of the Sporting Triangles sports show on ITV in 1987, but had not worked for the channel since.

After leaving football, Hughes's career took on a new lease of life when he became a team captain in the popular BBC quiz A Question Of Sport in the 1980s.

His infectious laughter and enthusiasm made him a favourite with viewers as he played opposite fellow captain, rugby star Bill Beaumont, from 1984 to 1987.

Beaumont told ITV News that Hughes was a family man who was passionate about his football and his country.

"He was just such a lovely and enthusiastic bloke and, you know, he was a good friend of mine and I've got fond memories of Emlyn," he said.

Beaumont paid tribute to his friend as a great sportsman who had respect for his team and management but also loved a joke.

"He was a team player, he liked the dressing room humour, that mickey–taking, and he was trying to laugh at himself as well," he added.

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