Dan Walker pays emotional tribute to friend Gary Speed and urges people to talk if they are struggling
Dan Walker paid tribute to his close friend footballer Gray Speed on the tenth anniversary of his death yesterday (November 27).
The BBC Breakfast and Strictly Come Dancing star, who presented Football Focus for 12 years, said he was left ‘shattered’ by the loss of his friend, who died due to suicide.
Gary Speed, who was Wales manager and played for Sheffield United, Leeds, Newcastle, Bolton and Everton during his career, was found dead at his home on the morning of November 27, 2011. He was 42-years-old.
Interviewed by BBC sport, Dan urged anybody struggling with depression to talk to somebody, and recalled the shock of his friend’s death.
He said: "I think if Gary had spoken to somebody that night, I think he’d still be here.
“I think that’s the hard thing."
But he said that if Gary had been feeling the way he was nowadays, he would have spoken to somebody, thanks to the way attitudes towards mental health have changed.
He added: “What happened to Gary still makes a lot of people think about their friends and those around them, and I like to think that’s a good thing.”
Dan recalled the day before Gary died, when the two of them had co-hosted an episode of Football Focus and made future plans to spend time together.
He said that his friend’s death was a shock that he ‘couldn’t fathom’ as his behaviour had seemed so normal on that day.
"You can’t help but ask yourself whether you could have done something,” Dan said.
“Whether there’s something you should have seen or whether there were signs there. But I really don’t think there were.”
The video was shared on social media, and thousands of people have been in touch since, speaking about their struggles with their mental health and experiences of losing loved ones.
After sharing the clip to social media, Dan thanked everyone for their support. He wrote: “I’ve been in tears most of the morning reading your responses to the Gary Speed tribute.
“Please watch out for your friends & family. Talking can save a life.”
If you need to talk, you can call the Samaritans, which is there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for free on 116 123, or visit samaritans.org.