Leicester confirmed in a statement issued on Sunday that Srivaddhanaprabha was one of five people who died when his helicopter crashed and exploded into a fireball just outside the King Power Stadium following his team’s 1-1 draw with West Ham on Saturday.
Condolences have poured in from across the football world as Leicester players and supporters expressed their shock and devastation at the accident, while many have congregated at the King Power Stadium to lay flowers and tributes.
Writing on Instagram, Lineker – who started his professional career at Leicester in 1978 and was named honorary vice-president after helping to save the club from liquidation in 2002 – said: “Deeply saddened to hear the confirmation that @lcfc chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was one of five people to lose their lives in the helicopter crash on Saturday evening.
“A quiet, unassuming man who will always be remembered with great fondness and respect. He also helped to bring the most magical, miraculous title win in the history of football. Thank you, Chairman for all you did for our football club. #RIP”
The news has brought an understandable outpouring of emotion from within Leicester and the football world, with Srivaddhanaprabha a hugely popular man having bought the club in 2010 and made them the most unlikely of Premier League champions in 2016.
A statement issued by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and president of the Football Association, read: "My thoughts today are with the family and friends of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and all the victims of the Leicester City Football Club.
"I was lucky to have known Vichai for several years. He was a businessman of strong values who was dedicated to his family and who supported a number of important charitable causes. He made such a big contribution to football, not least through Leicester City's magical 2016 season that captured the imagination of the world.
"He will be missed by all fans of the sport and everyone lucky enough to have known him."
Writing on Instagram, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel wrote: “Dear Mr Chairman. I cannot believe this is happening. I am so totally devastated and heartbroken. I just cannot believe what I saw last night. It just doesn't seem real.
“It is difficult to put into words how much you meant to this football club and to the city of Leicester. Never have I ever come across a man like you. So hard working, so passionate, so kind and so generous in the extreme.
“You changed football. Forever! You gave hope to everyone that the impossible was possible. You literally made my dreams come true.
“We now have a responsibility as a club, as players and fans to honour you. From knowing you we do this by being the family you created.”
"Words can't describe how I feel. A truly great, kind, loving man who will be missed so much by everyone. I will never forget the Chairman's support, not only during my time LCFC but also during the World Cup," England defender Harry Maguire wrote on Twitter.
Fellow City defender and England left-back Ben Chilwell hailed “one of the best people you could wish to meet”.
Jamie Vardy – whose meteoric rise through the leagues was matched step-by-step by the club as they came from nowhere to win the Premier League in 2016 – called Srivaddhanaprabha a “legend”.
He said on Instagram: “Struggling to find the right words, but to me you are a legend, an incredible man who had the biggest heart, the soul of Leicester City Football Club. Thank you for everything you did for me, my family and our club. I will truly miss you, may you rest in peace.”
Wes Morgan, the captain of that Leicester side, said: “Absolutely heartbroken and devastated regarding the news of our chairman. A man that was loved and adored by everyone here at LCFC and someone who I personally had the utmost respect for.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and the families of the other victims of this tragedy.”
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