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Ugo Ehiogu (1971 - 2017)

Getty Images / Michael Regan

Ugo Ehiogu (1971 - 2017)

Ugo Ehiogu, a soccer coach and former player in the English Premier League, died Friday, April 21, 2017, after suffering cardiac arrest. According to The Associated Press, Ehiogu collapsed Thursday at the training facility of the team he coached, the Tottenham Under-23s. He was 44.

Ehiogu was a defenseman for the English Premier League’s Aston Villa and Middlesbrough teams from 1991-2007, as well as on England’s national team. He appeared more than 300 times for Aston Villa, contributing to the team's 1995–96 Football League Cup championship, but knee injuries hampered his performance during his time with Middlesbrough. He was chosen four times for England’s national team and scored a goal in a victory against Spain in 2001.  

He began coaching in 2013 and was named team coach of Tottenham Hotspur’s Under-23s in mid-2014.

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The English Football Association's statement said it was "devastated to hear the news that Ugo Ehiogu has passed away. Our thoughts and sympathies are with all lucky enough to know him."

Reactions have come in from around the soccer community to the unexpected death.  

John McDermott, head of coaching and player development for Tottenham: "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."

Former Aston Villa teammate Lee Hendrie: "Ugo was such a character. He has always been that bubbly character. He was just a great guy to have around."

Current Tottenham striker Harry Kane: "Very sad day today! Ugo was a fantastic man and coach! Gone way to soon! Thoughts are with his friends and family now! #RIPUgo."

Stoke manager Mark Hughes, who played against Ehiogu: "He was a big strong guy, a big athlete, and you knew when you went up against him it was always going to be a difficult game. That is why, when these things happen, it is even more shocking, because you remember them in their prime. It is a real shame."

At Tottenham’s next match, an FA Cup semifinal against Chelsea, both team’s players will wear black armbands in Ehiogu’s memory. He is survived by his wife, Gemma Coleman, and two children.

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