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Welsh international manager Speed found dead

November 28, 2011 -- Updated 1006 GMT (1806 HKT)
Gary Speed played 85 times for Wales and took over as national coach last year.
Gary Speed played 85 times for Wales and took over as national coach last year.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Wales national football manager Gary Speed dies aged 42
  • Speed found dead at his home in Chester, local police said
  • Speed helped Leeds Utd win English championship in 1992
  • He was capped 85 times by Wales and awarded MBE

(CNN) -- Wales national manager Gary Speed has been found dead at his home aged 42, the Football Association of Wales (FAW) said Sunday.

"The Football Association of Wales are sad to announce the death of the national team manager Gary Speed," read a statement on the FAW official website.

"We extend our sympathies and condolences to the family.

"We ask that everyone respects the family's privacy at this very sad time."

Speed was capped 85 times by Wales and helped Leeds United to the English first division crown during an illustrious playing career.

The world has lost a great man in Gary Speed, I'm devastated
Robbie Savage

He took charge of the Welsh national side last year and was credited with a recent revival in their fortunes as they enjoyed a run of three straight wins for the first time since 2008.

Speed was also honored as a Member of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II last year.

Speed, who was married with two children, lived in north-west England.

Cheshire police issued the following statement to CNN Sunday.

"The police were called to a residence in Huntingdon in Chester at 7.08 a.m where a body of a 42-year-old was found.

"The identity was confirmed to be that of Gary Speed. There were no suspicious circumstances."

However, various reports in the British media said Speed had taken his own life.

News of Speed's untimely death stunned the sporting community across Britain and players at the English Premier League between Swansea and Aston Villa observed a minute's silence.

Welsh international Craig Bellamy, a close friend of Speed, was later rested from Liverpool's game against Manchester City at Anfield.

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish told Sky Sports that Bellamy was not in the right frame of mind to play.

"It is devastating and it might be a cliche but these things make football rather secondary, he said.

"I felt that Bellas -- who was really close to Gary -- would not be in the frame of mind to play."

Former Welsh international Robbie Savage gave his reaction on Twitter.

It is devastating and it might be a cliche but these things make football rather secondary
Kenny Dalglish

"The world has lost a great man in Gary Speed, I'm devastated,"he tweeted.

"He was upbeat on phone yesterday we were laughing together, talking football and dancing, he was a great teammate and a great friend."

England and Manchester United star Michael Owen, a close neighbor of Speed, gave his reaction: "Just cannot believe the news regarding Gary Speed. We waved at each other a couple of days ago dropping our kids off at school. I'm numb."

Tributes also flooded in from Speed's former clubs Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United.

"We are stunned to learn this news," said a spokesman for Leeds where Speed won the title in 1993.

"It's very difficult to find words to describe how we're all feeling right now," he added.

From the world of politics, Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said he was "deeply saddened."

He added: "This is devastating news and our thoughts are with his family at what must be a very difficult time for them."

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