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Ex-England football team captain Wilkins passes away

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London: English football great Ray Wilkins died at the age of 61 on Wednesday, five days after being admitted to a hospital following a cardiac arrest.

Wilkins' former club Chelsea said: "Everybody associated with Chelsea Football Club is devastated to learn of the passing of our former player, captain and assistant coach, Ray Wilkins, at the age of 61.

"Ray was a popular and much-loved figure among fans, players and staff throughout his long association with the club.

"Our thoughts are with Ray's wife Jackie, children Ross and Jade, and the rest of his family at this sad time."

Wilkins enjoyed his best days in club football playing for Chelsea (1973-79), Manchester United (1979-94), AC Milan (1984-87) and Queens Park Rangers (1989-94).

Playing as a midfielder, Wilkins represented England 84 times between 1976 and 1986.

Several former and current footballers paid their tributes to Wilkins.

His former England teammate Gary Linekar wrote on Twitter: "Deeply saddened to hear that Ray Wilkins has passed away. A wonderful footballer and a delightful man. It was a pleasure to have played alongside him with England. No teammate was more helpful and supportive. I'll be forever grateful. Thoughts are with his family. #RIPRay."

Manchester United tweeted: "The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Manchester United are with the family, friends and colleagues of our former midfielder Ray Wilkins, following his tragic passing."

AC Milan tweeted: "Goodbye Ray, you will be missed: tonight we're gonna fight like you taught us!"

Wilkins' former national teammate Alan Shearer said: "So sad to hear the news about Ray Wilkins. He lived for and loved football. I was lucky enough to have worked with him and he was always a true gentleman. He will be sorely missed by so many. #RIPRay."

Former AC Milan and Italy captain Franco Baresi said "it was an honor to have had you as a companion, you were special, a gentleman in the field and out. Thanks Ray Wilkins RIP".

Wilkins' Milan teammate and former Dutch midfielder Ruud Gullit said: "#RIP #RayWilkins i will miss you my friend."

Former Chelsea head coach Carlo Ancelotti, who worked with Wilkins at the London club's coaching staff, said: "Today is a very sad day, we have lost a fantastic person and a good friend. It was a pleasure to work with you, Ray. All of my best wishes go to Jackie, Jade and Ross. RIP."

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