Ablett dies after cancer battle

Ablett, who had a season as Stockport manager in 2009-10, lost his

16-month fight against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on Sunday night. “On

behalf of Gary Ablett’s family the LMA has today confirmed that

Gary passed away peacefully last night following a hard fought

16-month battle against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” said an LMA

statement. “Respected throughout the game by players, coaches and

managers alike Gary will be sadly missed. “The LMA’s thoughts and

condolences are with Gary’s wife Jacqueline and children.” Former

Liverpool manager Roy Evans told Sky Sports News: “It’s a big

shock. Obviously we know Gary’s been ill for a while. It’s a really

sad day.” Recalling Ablett as a player, Evans added: “He was good

at everything he did as a player. “He went into coaching and

stamped his personality onto that and was doing a very good job,

certainly at youth level. I remember he had bit of a difficult

first spell at Stockport, but overall he’s had a great career in

football, he’s a big loss to the sport. “He made a big contribution

to the game.” David Fairclough, who played for Liverpool between

1974 and 1983, added: “He was a lovely lad, he always conducted

himself in the right way. He was great with people, always

personable. What always came through with Gary was his attitude was

just always very, very right.” Ablett took up a coaching role with

Ipswich in July 2010 but was taken ill while at the club’s training

ground and was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “Liverpool

Football Club were today saddened to learn of the death of former

player Gary Ablett,” said a statement from the Reds. “The staff of

Liverpool FC would like to send our condolences to the family and

friends of Gary.” A statement from Everton said: “Everyone at

Everton was saddened to learn of the death of Gary Ablett. “The

thoughts of everyone at Everton are with Gary’s family and friends

at this tragic time.” In October Ablett spoke of the shock at being

diagnosed with the disease. “Jacqueline took one look at me and

took me straight to the doctors,” he said in an interview with

Everton’s official website to support Blue September – a campaign

to raise awareness of forms of cancer specifically affecting men.

“The following day they whisked me to Ipswich hospital and the

sister asked us if we knew why we were there “We said ‘for tests’

but she told us they had found a really aggressive lymphoma and

that without immediate treatment I’d be in serious trouble. “From

diagnosis to that first session of chemotherapy was less than three

days, so it was a massive shock.” Former Liverpool and Germany

midfielder Dietmar Hamann, who became Stockport manager in 2011 a

year after Ablett left the post, said on Sky Sports News: “It’s

devastating news. He’s a very highly regarded and respected man on

Merseyside and a true legend.” Paul Walsh, who played alongside

Ablett at Liverpool in the 1980s, described the news of Ablett’s

death as “absolutely tragic”. He said: “”I’m absolutely stunned at

the news, I knew he wasn’t well, but 46 years of age is absolutely

tragic.” “He was was a hell of a nice person. He was a top lad.

Just wanted to get in there and do well, didn’t do anything fancy

but a great pro who trained hard with a great attitude to

everything he did. “There was also a steely determination about

Gary. You don’t get in the Liverpool team and come through the

ranks at Liverpool and play 100 times for them if you haven’t got

that little bit of steel.” Michael Owen said on his Twitter

account: “So sad to hear the news that Gary Ablett has passed away

today aged 46. He played for some great clubs and had a career to

be proud of. RIP.” Former club Birmingham have announced a minute’s

silence will be observed before their Championship match at

Peterborough today with another held at St Andrew’s on Saturday

prior to their FA Cup third round tie with Wolves. “The thoughts of

everyone connected with Birmingham City Football Club are with the

friends and family of Gary Ablett,” said a Blues statement. “Just

like he battled as a fierce competitor on the pitch, Ablett fought

non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for over year before passing away peacefully

last night. “Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to

Gary’s wife Jacqueline and his children and everyone else that knew

him.” Ipswich’s players will wear black armbands for this

afternoon’s visit of Nottingham Forest and Ablett will be honoured

with a minute’s applause. “It’s desperately sad news,” Town chief

executive Simon Clegg told itfc.co.uk. “I stayed in touch with Gary

as he battled his illness over 18 months, which he did with bravery

and dignity and our thoughts go out to his wife Jacqueline and

their children at this very difficult time.”