England footballing legend, Sir Bobby Charlton has died at the age of 86 following a dementia battle.
Charlton was one of nine survivors of the Munich Air Disaster in February 1958 which claimed several members of Utd’s ‘Busby Babes’, and the last surviving member to subsequently pass away.
The 86 year-old haD battled dementia since late 2020 and passed away in the early hours of this morning (21 October).
Charlton spent the majority of his career at Man Utd, where he scored 249 goals in 758 appearances and helped the Red Devils to three league titles plus two Community Shields, 1962-63 FA Cup and famously the 1967-68 European Cup.
The latter title was Charlton’s finest moment as an Utd player in which he scored twice in the Final against Benfica at Wembley, as Utd prevailed 4-1 after extra time to become the first English club to win the competition.
After he left Utd in summer 1973, Charlton scored 11 goals in 49 appearances in total across one-season stints at Preston North End and Ireland’s Waterford United, whilst he also served as manager at Preston between 1973 – 1975.
Commenting upon Charlton’s death, Preston described him as ‘a true legend’ of the sport.
💙 Everyone at Preston North End is deeply saddened to learn of the news that our former player and manager, Bobby Charlton has passed away.
— Preston North End FC (@pnefc) October 21, 2023
Charlton represented England internationally with 49 goals in 106 appearances and was part of the Three Lions’ only World Cup winning squad, which came on home soil in 1966 as he also was awarded the Golden Ball for his outstanding performances.
Upon announcement of his death, Utd released the following statement: “Manchester United are in mourning following the passing of Sir Bobby Charlton, one of the greatest and most beloved players in the history of our club.
“A graduate of our youth Academy, Sir Bobby played 758 games and scored 249 goals during 17 years as a Manchester United player, winning the European Cup, three league titles and the FA Cup. For England, he won 106 caps and scored 49 goals, and won the 1966 World Cup.
Following his retirement, he went on to serve the club with distinction as a director for 39 years.
“His unparalleled record of achievement, character and service will be forever etched in the history of Manchester United and English football; and his legacy will live on through the life-changing work of the Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation.
“The club’s heartfelt sympathies are with his wife Lady Norma, his daughters and grandchildren, and all who loved him.”
Tributes quickly began to flood in from across the footballing world with Charlton’s England teammate, Sir Geoff Hurst leading those who paid tribute to the icon.
Very sad news today 1 of the true Greats Sir Bobby Charlton has passed away We will never forget him & nor will all of football A great colleague & friend he will be sorely missed by all of the country beyond sport alone Condolences to his family & friends from Geoff and Judith.
— Sir Geoff Hurst (@TheGeoffHurst) October 21, 2023
A giant of the game. RIP Legend https://t.co/m6eGsWNSVT
— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) October 21, 2023
So sorry to hear the news of Sir Bobby Charlton. The Greatest English Football player and Manchester United’s greatest ambassador. A champion on and off the pitch and a Busby Babe that paved the way for all to come at United. Rest In Peace Sir Bobby ❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/WTkkulOijq
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) October 21, 2023
Deeply saddened to hear that Sir Bobby Charlton has died. A truly wonderful footballer and genuinely lovely man. A World Cup winner, @ManUtd great and, for me, England’s greatest ever player. He may no longer be with us but he’ll have footballing immortality. RIP Sir Bobby. 🙌🏻
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) October 21, 2023
Several Man Utd players past and present also paid their own tributes, including David de Gea and Casemiro.
A legend and true pillar of Manchester United, whenever people think of the club around the world, they think of Sir Bobby Charlton. You will be missed throughout football. RIP. pic.twitter.com/3kFIhgPecF
— David de Gea (@D_DeGea) October 21, 2023
Saddened to hear of the passing of one of the greatest players our sport has ever seen. A true Manchester United legend and an amazing person. Rest in peace, Sir Bobby 💔 pic.twitter.com/v2Bqh8s2i4
— Peter Schmeichel (@Pschmeichel1) October 21, 2023
Rest in peace Sir Bobby, absolute LEGEND 🙏❤️😢 https://t.co/5JNtXumTiR
— Juan Mata García (@juanmata8) October 21, 2023
RIP Legend 🙏🏼 https://t.co/PtyJbft3i4
— Lisandro Martinez (@LisandrMartinez) October 21, 2023
European Cup winner, World Cup winner, Ballon d’Or winner and one of the greatest Manchester United players of all time. Lifting the European Cup of 1968 with Red Devils was an absolute milestone for the legendary history of our club.
Rest In Peace Sir Bobby Charlton 🙏 pic.twitter.com/li7W1soZ44
— Casemiro (@Casemiro) October 21, 2023
RIP sir Bobby. A true example of greatness and kindness. My thoughts are with the family. 💫 pic.twitter.com/Ld5CIooK9k
— Ruud van Nistelrooij (@RvN1776) October 21, 2023
It was so special to see you the first day I arrived in Manchester, waiting for me to give me your warmest welcome. I will never forget it. You were everything at @ManUtd_Es
Rest in peace sir Bobby Charlton pic.twitter.com/vNi03Ajb06
— Ander Herrera (@AnderHerrera) October 21, 2023
Football manager, Neil Warnock meanwhile described Charlton as a player who ‘made the game look so easy, gliding across the pitch and a thunderbolt of a shot that never seemed to miss the target.’
Very sad to hear the news of the great Sir Bobby Charlton passing.
He made the game look so easy, gliding across the pitch and a thunderbolt of a shot that never seemed to miss the target
Always such a gentleman whenever I met him, lovely man
England’s greatest ever. RIP pic.twitter.com/EG7aJ7SA8f
— Neil Warnock (@warnockofficial) October 21, 2023
Ex Man Utd coach, Rene Meulensteen added that Charlton was ‘a true gentleman.’
I have been very fortunate to have crossed paths with Sir Bobby. We have lost a legend of the game and a true gentleman. ❤️ https://t.co/KtZG8bf1lK
— Rene Meulensteen (@rmeulensteen1) October 21, 2023
England meanwhile tweeted that it was ‘with a heavy heart’ to learn of Charlton’s passing.
It is with a heavy heart that we have learned of the passing of Sir Bobby Charlton.
An integral part of our 1966 FIFA World Cup winning campaign, Sir Bobby won 106 caps and scored 49 times for the #ThreeLions.
A true legend of our game. We will never forget you, Sir Bobby ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Ft9MlutBWm
— England (@England) October 21, 2023
EFL added that they are ‘deeply saddened’ that the world has lost ‘one of the greatest players in English football history,’ who ‘was an absolute great on and off the pitch.’
The EFL is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Sir Bobby Charlton.
One of the greatest players in English football history, Sir Bobby was an absolute great on and off the pitch.
A hugely sad day for the world of football. pic.twitter.com/NfyoOfsrvA
— EFL (@EFL) October 21, 2023
UEFA tweeted their own tribute in which they expressed a feeling of being ‘deeply saddened’ to hear of Charlton’s death.
On behalf of the entire European football community, we are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Sir Bobby Charlton, one of the game’s true greats.
Rest in peace, Sir Bobby. pic.twitter.com/nprlQqcKCO
— UEFA (@UEFA) October 21, 2023