Spanish soccer coach Manuel Preciado shockingly died of a heart attack Thursday, a day before the 54-year-old was due to be introduced as the new manager of Villarreal.
Preciado, who agreed to take charge of the club Wednesday following its relegation from La Liga, was scheduled to be officially presented at the Madrigal on Friday.
"The coach Manuel Preciado died overnight in Valencia as a result of a heart attack," Villarreal announced Thursday morning. "Villarreal wants to express its deepest sorrow at the sad loss and wants to offer its condolences to his family and all his relatives."
The most fulsome tribute came from Preciado's former club, Sporting Gijon, who he coached for six years, winning promotion to La Liga in 2008 before sustaining the club in the top division.
Although he was dismissed from the post in January before the team, like Villarreal, succumbed to relegation, Gijon said Preciado was "part of the club's history with gold letters."
Preciado's Gijon side famously ended Jose Mourinho's nine-year unbeaten home league record with a victory over Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in April 2011.
The club expressed "deep sadness" at his passing and added, "Gijon sends its deepest condolences to his family in this time of sorrow."
Preciado's life was struck by tragedy over the past decade.
His wife died of cancer in 2002, before his 15-year-old son was killed in a car wreck in 2004. Preciado's elderly father also died last year when he was run over.