Former Premier League footballer Peter Whittingham has died at age 35 nearly two weeks after sustaining a head injury in an accidental fall at a pub, according to South Wales police. He died at University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, police said.
Whittingham’s former club, Cardiff City, expressed heartbreak in a statement on its website.
“It is with an immeasurable amount of sorrow that we must inform supporters that Peter Whittingham has passed away at the age of 35. The news of Peter’s sudden and untimely passing has shaken us to our very foundation. Our love goes out to his wife Amanda, their young son and family.
“First and foremost, Peter was a family man – and somebody who could light up a room with his sense of humour, warmth and personality. Then, as a professional footballer – as a Bluebird [Cardiff City’s nickname] – he excelled with talent, ease, grace and humility. Nobody did it better.
“The loss of Peter will be painfully felt by our city, supporters and indeed all who ever had the pleasure of knowing him. We love you Pete and your memory will eternally stay with us.”
Born in 1984 in Nuneaton, England, Whittingham came through the youth academy at Aston Villa – also spending loan spells at both Burnley and Derby County.
He made 16 appearances for England’s Under-21 team in that time, scoring three goals, while featuring in Villa’s Premier League side.
But his real success came after transferring to Welsh side Cardiff City for £350,000 ($412,000) in 2007, according to the BBC.
In his 10 years at the club, Whittingham became a firm fan favorite, making 456 appearances and scored 96 goals – including 25 goals in one season from midfield.
His languid style, his talented left foot – former Germany midfielder Dietmar Hamann referred to as “one of the best left pegs I’ve seen” – and his uncanny ability to score long-range goals helped Cardiff reach the 2008 FA Cup final and the 2012 League Cup final.
He also played a key hand in helping the club win promotion to the Premier League in 2013 for the first time.
After leaving the Welsh capital in 2017, he spent a season at Blackburn Rovers before retiring in 2018.
Aaron Ramsey, Juventus and Wales midfielder, came through Cardiff’s academy while Whittingham was playing at the club, and paid his respects to his former teammate.
“I will forever be grateful for you taking me under your wing,” he said on Instagram.
“You were one of the most technical and gifted players I’ve played with and that left foot of yours was like a wand. I’m proud to have played alongside you and will always remember the young vs old games and you just running the show.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to your family, rest in peace Whitts ❤️ was too young”
Whittingham played under current Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in 2014, and the Norwegian called him an “incredible human being.”
“I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Peter Whittingham,” Solskjaer said.
“Peter was a fantastic footballer and an incredible human being. I thoroughly enjoyed working with him during my time at Cardiff City.
“It’s hard to believe that he has been taken from us at such a young age.”