Speed: nicest man in football is gone

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THE tragic death of Gary Speed: what people said:

“I am totally devastated. Gary Speed was one of the nicest men in football and someone I am honoured to call a team-mate and friend. Words cannot begin to describe how sad I feel at hearing this awful news” - Speed’s former Wales team-mate Ryan Giggs.

“Gary was a magnificent person, bright, fun and a wonderful family man - he lit up every room he walked into. I am proud to have been his friend and will miss him dreadfully” - Alan Shearer, who played alongside Speed at Newcastle for six years.

“To say I am devastated is an understatement. Today the world has lost a great football manager but even more sadly a great man. He will be missed by all” - Wales captain Aaron Ramsey.

“He wasn’t just a great player, he was a great person too. He was always great to be around, the life and soul of the party, and a good friend” - Rob Lee, who played alongside Speed at Newcastle.

“People are just stunned. I saw [former Wales striker] John Hartson earlier and I said ‘have you heard about Gary?’ The big man just cried and cried. We cuddled each other. Gary was the ultimate professional” - Bobby Gould, Wales manager 1995-1999.

“The world has lost a great man. I’m devastated spoke to him yesterday morning why! Why. Why. He come to watch strictly 3/4 weeks ago. I high-fived him in the front row he loved the show, he loved life he loved his family. Devastated. He was upbeat on phone yesterday we were laughing together, talking football and dancing. He was a great teammate and a great friend #RIP” - former Wales team-mate Robbie Savage, via Twitter.

“Gary was a wonderful ambassador for our league, and indeed all of football, but more than that he was a decent man widely respected throughout the game and beyond. Gary will go down in history as one of our iconic players, he was a stand out professional of the modern game and I’m sure all football fans across Britain will be deeply saddened at his untimely passing” - Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore.

“I’m completely shocked and saddened. A great guy and a better team-mate you couldn’t wish for. Speedo, RIP mate” - Tony Dorigo, who played alongside Speed in Leeds’ 1992 title-winning side.

“Just cannot believe the news. We waved at each other a couple of days ago dropping our kids off at school. I’m numb. So sad. He lived local to me and we knew his family. He leaves behind 2 sons. Tragic” - Manchester United striker Michael Owen.

“Love the guy and everything he represents as a professional. All my prayers go to the Speed family. ” - Everton striker Louis Saha.