Arsenal have led the tributes being paid across sports media, to the journalist and broadcaster Russell Hargreaves, who has died aged 45.
Hargreaves was renowned for his rugby union commentary on TalkSport radio, and also covered a range of other sports during his media career including golf and football, where he was the in-house commentator for the Gunners.
He leaves behind his wife Rachel and three children.
“We’re deeply saddened to tell you that Russell Hargreaves has passed away,” TalkSport posted on its social media channels. “Russ was a talented commentator, news reader and reporter for our network. But he was much more than that. A much loved friend and colleague to so many. We’re devastated by his passing. RIP, Russ.”
On Friday evening, Arsenal posted a touching tribute on their social media accounts – a compilation video of Hargreaves commentating on a series of great Gunners moments – with many fans responding that he was ‘the voice of Arsenal’.
The head of TalkSport, Liam Fisher, described Hargreaves as “a brilliant broadcaster, kind colleague and good friend to many of us”.
Hargreaves covered rugby in the summer and posted a picture of himself at New Zealand v South Africa at Twickenham in August. He was also at the Ryder Cup in September, before stepping back from work due to illness.
TalkSport host Adam Catterall tweeted: “So so sad. Russ was one of the most talented reporters I’ve ever worked with. So passionate about golf and rugby. How he managed to get so much information into such a short space of time I’ll never know. More than this he was a thoroughly nice bloke with such good energy.
“I’ve been with talkSPORT nearly a decade and Russ was a constant feature along the way, always stopping for a chat. I can not imagine how his family especially his kids are feeling. If on the off chance they read this, I hope you take some kind of comfort knowing that your Dad was incredibly well respected and he spoke about you often and he did so with so much pride. God bless you Russ.”
Russ Hargreaves, we will all miss you so much.
It was a privilege to work with you so often for Talksport & Arsenal
Always fun, cheery, kind, enthusiastic & easy to talk to, you were a lovely man & absolutely superb at your job.
Can't believe you've gone. Rest easy, pal ❤️ pic.twitter.com/e7v6jvtIAx
— Adrian Clarke (@adrianjclarke) December 6, 2023
I think I speak for a lot of us at @talksport when I say thanks to @talkMacca for his emotional tribute for Russ Hargreaves on @tSHandJ
It was perfect mate and bought more than just a tear to the eye. You did him justice.
Rest easy Russ. https://t.co/g6DQWohxHC
— Sam Matterface (@sammatterface) December 6, 2023
Russ was the loveliest guy. So kind and helpful when I changed career many moons ago. A wonderful, cheery, brilliant person. Thoughts with his family, friends and colleagues at this devastating time 💔 https://t.co/6i5EBpkJKo
— Jacqui Oatley (@JacquiOatley) December 6, 2023
The station’s pundits also paid their respects. Former footballer Darren Ambrose said Hargreaves’ “advice & tips was always very welcome because he was such a knowledgeable guy!” Danny Higginbotham said he “was such a lovely lad and always had a smile on his face”. Jamie O’Hara posted on Instagram: ““Devastated to hear this news literally loved speaking to rusty on the sports bar about the golf, so gutted, I wish I knew more of him.”
The Club are deeply saddened by the passing of @talkSPORT commentator and Harlequins supporter Russell Hargreaves.
We send our best wishes to his family and friends at this devastating time. RIP, Russ. pic.twitter.com/AY8335Teoe
— Harlequins 🃏 (@Harlequins) December 6, 2023
Thanks Russ. RIP 💙
— Sale Sharks 🦈 (@SaleSharksRugby) December 6, 2023
Everyone at Six Nations Rugby joins the entire rugby community in sharing its thoughts with the family of Russell Hargreaves, after hearing the devastating news of his passing
Russell was a passionate and gifted commentator, who was always in the thick of the action during the… pic.twitter.com/2cN8hq25X4
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) December 6, 2023
Messages of condolence were sent across rugby, including Harlequins, the club Hargreaves supported, and England Rugby which tweeted: “All at England Rugby are saddened to learn of the death of journalist Russell Hargreaves. Russell was a huge supporter of rugby, a popular journalist among his peers and an ever-present at our media sessions and fixtures. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.”