UK & World News

  • 26 April 2014, 3:28

Tito Vilanova: Ex-Barcelona Coach Dies At 45

The former coach of FC Barcelona, Tito Vilanova, has died at the age of 45 after a battle with cancer, the club has announced.

The Spaniard was appointed as manager in April 2012but was re-diagnosed with cancer of the salivary gland 10 months later.

The ex-midfielder, who was first told he had the disease in November 2011, was forced to step down from the club in July last year.

In a statement, FCBarcelona said it was in "immense mourning", adding: "May he rest in peace".

The club plans to open part of the Nou Camp's main grandstand for fans to express their condolences.

News of Vilanova's death has stunned the footballing community.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho said: "Tito Vilanova's passing is a sad day for football, for Barcelona and most importantly for his family and friends."

Manchester City and Argentina starSergio Aguerosaid his "heart is heavy", whileAtletico Madrid and Spain player David Villa tweeted: "We will never forget."

Manchester United's David de Gea added: "A very sad day.Tito Vilanova has left us but his fight remains an example."

Vilanovawas assistant manager at the Nou Camp from 2008-2012 under Pep Guardiola and succeededthe Spaniard following his departure from the club.

He previously managed Barcelona's second team and lower league side FC Palafrugell.

As a player, Vilanova made more than 300 professional appearances, including more than 60 for Valencian side Elche.

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