Breaking News

Ex-Liverpool and Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier dies aged 73


Former Liverpool and Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier has died at the age of 73 three weeks after having aortic aneurysm surgery in Paris. 

The Frenchman, who also managed Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon, had a long history of medical issues, most notably a heart problem and high blood pressure, but the cause of his death remains unknown. 

Houllier, who led Liverpool to a unique cup treble in 2001, was described by his former players and colleagues today as a 'great manager and a genuinely caring man' and a 'true gentleman of the game' who 'always put others first'. 

A fan favourite at Anfield, Houllier suffered a life-threatening vascular problem during a Premier League match against Leeds in 2001. Later, his spell at Villa was also interrupted by health problems and he never returned to day-to-day coaching after leaving the club in 2011. 

French radio station RMC and sports newspaper L'Equipe reported that Houllier died after having a heart operation in Paris. According to L'Equipe journalist Vincent Duluc, Houllier underwent aortic aneurysm surgery three weeks ago and was discharged from a Paris hospital and returned home on Sunday. 

He reportedly sent a text message at the weekend saying: 'I am struggling, but I am going to come out of this.'  

Liverpool paid tribute to their former manager today, saying: 'We are mourning the passing of our treble-winning manager, Gerard Houllier. 

'The thoughts of everyone at Liverpool Football Club are with Gerard's family and many friends.' 

A post from Villa read: 'All at Aston Villa are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Gerard Houllier, our manager during the 2010/11 season. 

'Our thoughts are with Gerard's loved ones at this incredibly difficult time.' 

Liverpool legend and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher, who played under Houllier at Anfield, tweeted: 'Absolutely devastated by the news about Gerard Houllier, I was in touch with him only last month to arrange him coming to Liverpool.

'Loved that man to bits, he changed me as a person & as a player & got LFC back winning trophies. RIP Boss.' 

Jamie Redknapp, who like Carragher moved from the Liverpool team to the Sky studio, called it 'incredibly sad news'.  

Describing Houllier as 'a man that did an amazing job for Liverpool football club and for football as a whole', he added: 'My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. I will never forget the day he gave me the Liverpool captaincy the greatest honour of my career. RIP Gerard.' 

Houllier's assistant manager at Liverpool, Phil Thompson, posted: 'Absolutely devastated and heartbroken at the sad news of the passing of Gerard. My mate, my colleague, my boss.

'One of the greatest moments of my life was when we come together in 1998. Just to be in his company was an absolute treat. So loyal, so passionate and extremely fierce.' 

Gary Lineker posted: 'Oh no! Gerard Houllier has passed away. One of football's smartest, warmest and loveliest people. #RIPGerard'.

Ex-Liverpool striker Michael Owen tweeted: 'Absolutely heartbroken to hear that my old boss, Gerard Houllier, has sadly passed away. A great manager and a genuinely caring man. #RIPBoss'. 

His early-2000s team-mate Didi Hamann said: 'Devastated to hear the news that our former manager Gerard Houllier passed away. 

'Great manager and an even better man. You'll never walk alone Gerard.' 

Ian Rush, the former Liverpool striker who had a short spell as a coach under Houllier, said: 'Devastated at the passing of Gerard Houllier. A true gentleman of the game, always put others first.' 

No comments