England World Cup winner and Manchester United great Bobby Charlton, described by the club as a "giant of the game", has died at the age of 86, it was announced on Saturday.
Charlton was a key member of England's victorious 1966 World Cup team and also enjoyed great success at club level with United, who became the first English club to win the European Cup in 1968, a decade after members of the team were killed in an air crash in Munich.
Sir Bobby Charlton CBE, 1937-2023.— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 21, 2023
Words will never be enough.
"It is with great sadness that we share the news that Sir Bobby passed peacefully in the early hours of Saturday morning. He was surrounded by his family," said a statement on behalf of the Charlton family.
"His family would like to pass on their thanks to everyone who has contributed to his care and for the many people who have loved and supported him."
In 2020, it was announced Charlton had been diagnosed with dementia and as the disease took hold he stopped attending matches at Old Trafford.
United posted a picture of Charlton on X, formerly known as Twitter, with the caption: "Words will never be enough."
Charlton's European Cup success at United came 10 years after the 1958 Munich air disaster, which he and team manager Matt Busby survived but which claimed the lives of eight of Charlton's team-mates.
The midfielder played in the World Cup final alongside his brother Jack, who died aged 85 in 2020, and won 106 caps for England, scoring 49 goals.
He made his debut for United in 1956 and went on to play 758 matches for the Red Devils, scoring 249 goals. Both were long-standing club records until they were overtaken by Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney respectively.
Charlton won three league three titles and one FA Cup at Old Trafford and, after leaving United in 1973 and becoming Preston manager, he returned to Old Trafford 11 years later as a club director. He was knighted for services to football in 1994.
"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," the Premier League club said in a statement.
"Sir Bobby was a hero to millions, not just in Manchester, or the United Kingdom, but wherever football is played around the world.
"He was admired as much for his sportsmanship and integrity as he was for his outstanding qualities as a footballer. Sir Bobby will always be remembered as a giant of the game."