Exclusively by MotoGP Gallery

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gary Speed Found Dead At Home By His Wife


Gary Speed's devastated wife Louise found his body after he hanged himself at home yesterday.

The football world was in shock as they mourned one of the game’s true gentlemen.

Players, former stars, friends and fans were left reeling by the 42-year-old's apparent suicide, which came just hours after he happily chatted and joked on Saturday lunchtime’s BBC Football Focus show. Tributes poured in for the former Leeds, Everton, Newcastle and Bolton star.

Speed was found hanged at his home in Huntington, Cheshire, by Louise at 7am yesterday. Police said the death was not suspicious.

Speed moved into the ­impressive Huntington Hall, surrounded by fields, three years ago with Louise and their two sons, now aged 13 and 14.

Just over six hours after the body was ­discovered a silver private ambulance was seen leaving his home followed by a marked police car.

Officers said a family tribute will be released at a later date.

Close mate Robbie Savage broke down as he spoke about Speed during his 606 phone-in show on Radio 5 Live and ex-team-mate Shay Given wept during Aston Villa’s match with Swansea yesterday afternoon.

Craig Bellamy withdrew from Liverpool’s clash with Manchester City after hearing the news.

Football Focus host Dan Walker told how dad-of-two Speed was “bubbly” during filming with “no hint of a problem”.

He tweeted: “Staggered by the news of Gary Speed’s death. Was with him for most of yesterday. I genuinely cannot believe it. Thoughts with his family.

“Gary was full of life… talking about his kids, bright future with Wales, Twitter, golf. Can’t get my head round it. So sad. As he left he gave me a warm ­handshake and said ‘Thanks.’ I replied: ‘We might even have you on again.’”

It is thought Speed also chatted with ex-Toon team-mate Alan Shearer who was filming Match of the Day.

Shearer said: “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.”

Mirror columnist Savage, who played alongside him for Wales, told how he had spoken to his pal on Saturday and he was “laughing and joking”.

Manchester United striker Michael Owen tweeted: “Just cannot believe the news regarding Gary. We waved at each other a couple of days ago dropping our kids off at school. I’m numb. He has died aged 42. So sad.

“He lived local to me and we knew his family. He leaves behind 2 sons. Tragic.”

Former Wales manager Bobby Gould, who was at the Swansea match, said: “People are just stunned. I saw 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.”

A planned silence at Swansea’s Liberty stadium turned into a minute’s applause and fans chanted: “There’s only one Gary Speed.”

Tributes, scarves and shirts were piled high at all of the home grounds of clubs Speed represented during his illustrious career.

Two bouquets were placed outside the home of Speed’s parents Roger and Carol at Queensferry on Deeside. His death was announced earlier by the Welsh FA. A statement said: “The Football Association of Wales are sad to announce the death of the national team manager Gary Speed.

“We extend our sympathies and ­condolences to the family.”

Neighbours Fred and Helen Hewitt told how they had a “friendly passing and waving ­relationship” with the popular star.

Helen said: “He was always very friendly. I can’t believe what’s happened. I can’t imagine how his wife and family are coping. I feel so sorry for them.”

Cheshire Police went to the Speeds’ home after being told about a sudden death.

A spokeswoman said: “Officers went to the scene where a 42-year-old man was found dead.

"The next of kin have been informed and have confirmed the identity of the man as Gary Speed. There are no ­suspicious circumstances.”

Speed was awarded an MBE last year for services to football.

He retired as a player in May 2010 and took over as Wales boss last December. Speed took charge of the ­international team for the first time in February against the Republic of Ireland. His last game was a 4-1 friendly victory over Norway on November 12.

Everyone at World Superbikes would like to extend our sympathy and condolences to the family of Gary Speed after hearing of his tragic passing.

World Superbikes winner MSMW2012