Ugo Ehiogu has tragically died after suffering a heart attack at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground, where he was coaching the club’s Under-23s team.
Spurs confirmed the news on Friday in a statement after devastated staff, including manager Mauricio Pochettino, were informed in the early hours of the morning.
Former Aston Villa defender Ehiogu collapsed at the club’s training centre on Thursday and was treated by Tottenham medics before being taken to hospital in an ambulance.
Pochettino was among the shocked staff who rushed to the Academy pitches, where Ehiogu had been coaching, to check on the condition of the 44-year-old after an ambulance and paramedics were called shortly before noon.
Witnesses said that Pochettino and his assistant Jesus Perez were clearly upset as they left the scene, with staff at the training ground also saddened by what happened.
Pochettino later held his weekly press conference while Tottenham informed Ehiogu’s family of what happened. In a statement confirming Ehiogu’s death, Tottenham said: “It is with immense sadness that we announce the passing of Ugo Ehiogu, our Under-23 coach.
“Ugo received immediate treatment after suffering a cardiac arrest at the Training Centre yesterday before being transferred to hospital, where he passed away in the early hours of the morning.”
Head of coaching and player development John McDermott said: “Words cannot express the shock and sadness that we all feel at the club. Ugo’s immense presence will be irreplaceable. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his wife Gemma and his family.”
It is with immense sadness that we announce the passing of Ugo Ehiogu, our Under-23 coach. pic.twitter.com/sSU0yqVfyk— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) April 21, 2017
Only spoke to Ugo a month ago.— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) April 21, 2017
Be in a happy place big man, will never forget you pal.
Rest in peace big un.
One of the good guys.— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) April 21, 2017
Truly broken. pic.twitter.com/cxqLk7uvy4
Devastating news about Ugo Ehiogu, all at the PFA are shocked and saddened. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/XwzcrSiquY— PFA (@PFA) April 21, 2017
The news came ahead of Tottenham’s FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday, in which there is now expected to be a minute’s silence with both teams wearing black armbands.
Having been born in East London, Ehiogu joined West Bromwich Albion as a trainee before moving to Villa where he made his name and played for nine years, winning the League Cup twice.
He moved to Middlesbrough in 2000 and won the League Cup for the third time in his career before spells at Leeds United, Rangers and Sheffield United.
We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of our former defender Ugo Ehiogu.— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) April 21, 2017
Our thoughts are with his family at this terribly sad time. pic.twitter.com/nTk1WBhr1H
Can't believe the news that Ugo Ehiogu has passed away. Calm & warming vibe when in his company. My heart goes out to his family! #RIPUgo— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) April 21, 2017
Devastated...absolutely devastated. Lost a great team mate and friend. Deepest condolences to all of Ugo's family and friends. RIP Ugo.— Ian Taylor (@IanTaylor7) April 21, 2017
Such tragic news on Ugo. I used to watch him every week at Villa Park. What a player he was.— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) April 21, 2017
He won four England caps and retired in 2009. Ehiogu moved into coaching and started working part-time with the Tottenham youth teams before he was appointed coach of the Under-21 team in 2014. He then moved on to take change of the U23 development side.
The death of Ehiogu comes five years after Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup quarter-final at White Hart Lane. The then Bolton Wanderers midfielder was rushed to hospital and although he recovered, had to retire from football.