Football legend Jimmy Hill has died, aged 87.
The former Match of the Day presenter and one-time chairman of the Professional Footballers Association was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2008 and had been living in a nursing home in Sussex.
A statement from his agent, Jane Morgan, confirmed his passing: “It is with great sadness that Bryony Hill and the children of Jimmy Hill have announced that Jimmy passed away peacefully aged 87 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Bryony was beside him.”
Hailed as one of the most influential figures in football, Hall began his career as a player in 1949, starting out at Brentford before playing for Fulham until his retirement in 1961.
He then moved into management, taking charge of Coventry City and winning Division Three and Division Two, guiding them towards the top flight for the first time.
Hill departed Coventry in 1967, becoming a broadcaster and head of sport for ITV. In 1973 he began presenting Match of the Day and made more than 600 appearances for the BBC’s flagship football programme. He was covering the game between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in 1989 when the Hillsborough disaster took place.
Besides his various management and presenting roles, Hill was also hugely influential in shaping the modern game. He was chairman of the Professional Football Association where he led the campaign for the scrapping of maximum wages for professional footballers.
He also worked to establish a player’s right to freedom of movement after his contract was up, introduced the idea of scoring three points for a win, lifted a ban on media interviews and introduced the first electronic scoreboard in 1964.
Hill was married three times and is survived by his third wife, Bryony and his three children.
The BBC’s director-general Lord Hall has paid tribute to the broadcaster: “For generations of fans Jimmy Hill was an authoritative voice as both a presenter and analyst.
“He was committed to innovation in every aspect of the game, including broadcasting and always believed supporters came first. His influence lives on in the programmes we enjoy today.”
Members of the footballing community, including Coventry City, have also been paying their respects to Hill on Twitter:
Deeply saddened to hear that Jimmy Hill has left us. A football man through and through who gave the game so much in so many ways #RIPJimmy
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 19, 2015
— Coventry City (@Coventry_City) December 19, 2015
RIP Jimmy Hill. All round football man.
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) December 19, 2015
Sad news, Jimmy Hill has passed away.Shared an office with Jimmy for 7years when he did the Jimmy Hill Sunday Supplement at Sky a true gent
— Chris Kamara (@chris_kammy) December 19, 2015