LONDON – Former English professional soccer player and Tottenham Hotspur under-23 coach Ugo Ehiogu died at the age of 44 on Friday after suffering cardiac arrest, the club announced.
Ehiogu, who played for the England national team but made his name in top-flight soccer as a defender for Aston Villa, suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed at the Spurs’ U-23 training center on Thursday and died early the following morning despite resuscitation efforts.
In a statement from the club, head of coaching John McDermott said: “Words cannot express the shock and sadness we all feel at the Club. Ugo’s immense presence will be irreplaceable. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his wife Gemman and his family.”
Tributes came pouring in on social media from prominent soccer figures.
The England national team shared an archive image of Ehiogu celebrating a goal on its official Twitter page, writing: “We’re devastated to hear the news that Ugo Ehiogu has passed away. Our thoughts and sympathies are with all lucky enough to know him.”
After a short spell at West Bromwich Albion, Ehiogu’s professional career started in 1991 at Villa where, during his nine-year spell, he scored 12 goals in 237 appearances.
During a press conference on Friday, current Villa manager Steve Bruce said: “We are all shocked and devastated by the news – someone so young. Our thoughts are with his family.”
Ehiogu went on to play for Middlesbrough, making 126 appearances and scoring seven goals before a short loan to Leeds United in 2006.
For the 2007-08 season, he moved north of the border and settled in Ibrox for a year with Glasgow Rangers before making his last professional outing with Sheffield Wednesday until 2009.
He made four appearances for the England national squad between 1996-2002, scoring once.
He moved to a coaching role with Tottenham Hotspur’s U-23 set-up in 2014, a job he held until his death.
Many prominent figures have shared Ehiogu’s last tweet, when on March 29 he said: “Gave a homeless girl £10 last night in Dalston.She didn’t ask or beg.Random impulsive act from me. Not gona lie. Felt good. #dosomethingkind.”