Ugo Ehiogu, former Aston Villa and Middlesbrough defender, England international, and Tottenham Hotspur U23 coach, died early this morning after suffering a heart attack at Spurs’ training ground at Hotspur Way. He leaves behind a wife and son. He was just 44.
Tottenham issued a brief announcement of Ehiogu’s passing on the club’s website, which included this statement from Head of Coaching and Player Development John McDermott:
“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.”
Ehiogu has been at Spurs since 2014 and got his start at the club’s academy under former academy Tim Sherwood. He quickly rose to the rank of U23 coach where he helped develop Spurs’ current crop of youth players now emerging into the first team, including Shayon Harrison, Anton Walkes, Harry Winks, Kazaiah Sterling, Marcus Edwards, and Cameron Carter-Vickers.
Statements of support and sadness are already pouring in from the footballing community. Commentator Paul Merson broke down crying on live television when asked about his friend during an interview on Sky.
A truly touching tribute to Ugo Ehiogu from Paul Merson on Sky Sports News: pic.twitter.com/21GD3iZRqr— Coral (@Coral) April 21, 2017
Ehiogu’s former players, teammates, and co-workers are also jumping in with statements of utter shock.
So shocked & saddened to hear the news this morning of @UgoEhiogu passing away My thoughts & prayers are with his family at this time— Ledley King (@LedleyKing) April 21, 2017
I'll never be able to thank you enough for all the time you invested in me to become a better footballer and man... Rest in peace Ugo Ehiogu pic.twitter.com/omX17loKxF— AW (@AntonWalkes) April 21, 2017
One of the most genuine, and caring people I've ever met.— Shay (@ShayonHarrison) April 21, 2017
An honour to have been taught by you, not only as a player, but as a person.
Shocked and saddened to hear about Ugo Ehiogu! Thoughts are with his family #RIPUgo— Andros Townsend (@andros_townsend) April 21, 2017
We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of our former defender Ugo Ehiogu.— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) April 21, 2017
Our thoughts are with his family at this terribly sad time. pic.twitter.com/nTk1WBhr1H
There is no way that I, or this blog, can adequately summarize the life of a man. While we cover the U23s and the promising players in Spurs’ academy, we only barely touched upon the man who led them. I regret that. By all accounts, Ugo was an outstanding human: kind, gentle, strong, and an excellent mentor to the young men in his charge.
Tottenham announced that both Spurs and Chelsea will wear black armbands during Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final match at Wembley Stadium in Ehiogu’s honor, and that there will be a minute’s applause before kick-off. According to the Guardian, there will be a similar observance of Ugo’s passing at the Second City Derby between Aston Villa and Birmingham City on Sunday.
It’s in some ways telling that his final tweet before his passing detailed an act of kindness towards someone less fortunate. That, I’m told, is who Ugo was. He will be missed.
Gave a homeless girl £10 last night in Dalston.She didn't ask or beg.Random impulsive act from me. Not gona lie. Felt good. #dosomethingkind— Ugo Ehiogu (@UgoEhiogu) March 29, 2017
Rest in peace, Ugo.