Former Aston Villa & England defender Ugo Ehiogu dies

English football is in mourning following the sudden death of former Aston Villa defender Ugo Ehiogu at the age of 44.

Ehiogu, who had had been working as a coach with Tottenham’s Under-23 team, suffered cardiac arrest at training on Thursday, but sadly passed away in hospital early on Friday morning.

“It is with immense sadness that we announce the passing of Ugo Ehiogu, our Under-23 coach,” a statement released by Tottenham said.

‘Ugo received immediate treatment after suffering a cardiac arrest at the Training Centre yesterday before being transferred to hospital, where he passed away in the early hours of this morning.

‘The club sends its deepest condolences to Ugo’s family. Gemma has specifically asked that the family are given privacy at this difficult time.

‘We should also like to place on record our thanks to all the medical professionals including those at North Middlesex University Hospital, Royal Brompton Hospital and Harefield Hospital for their care and support.’

Tottenham’s head of coaching and player development John McDermott said: ‘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.’

The official account of the England football team sent their condolences to Ehiogu’s family. A tweet said: ‘We’re devastated to hear the news that Ugo Ehiogu has passed away. Our thoughts and sympathies are with all lucky enough to know him.’

The four-cap England international, who scored in Sven-Goran Eriksson’s first game in charge of the national team in 2001, began coaching at the club part-time before being appointed Under 21 boss in 2014, having called time on his own playing career in 2009.

Ehiogu was born in east London and joined West Bromwich Albion as a trainee before moving to Villa where he made his breakthrough and played for nine years.

Villa won the League Cup on two occasions during his time at the club, with the defender starting in their 1996 success over Leeds at Wembley, while he was also part of the side which lost the 2000 FA Cup final to Chelsea.

He moved to Middlesbrough later that year for a then club-record £8million, where he teamed up with current England manager and former Villa team-mate Gareth Southgate once again.

Ehiogu was a League Cup winner again in 2004 as Boro beat Bolton 2-1, before he moved to Leeds for a short loan spell.

From there he moved to Scottish giants Rangers before finishing his career with Sheffield United.

In total he made 507 club appearances, scoring 26 goals and winning four England caps. He made his international debut against China in 1996, scoring his only goal in a clash with Spain at Villa Park in 2001.