Tributes paid to Ugo Ehiogu

Former England and Aston Villa defender has passed away

Aston Villa, Ugo Ehiogu, tribute

A tribute to former Aston Villa player Ugo Ehiogu who has died aged 44, outside Villa Park, Birmingham. Joe Giddens/PA Wire/PA Images

Former team-mates, colleagues and opponents have been paying tribute to ex-England defender Ugo Ehiogu who has passed away aged 44.

He had a cardiac arrest at Tottenham's training ground  on Thursday where he worked as the club's under-23s coach.

Ehiogu was best known for his time as a player at Aston Villa and Middlesbrough, and he won the League Cup with both clubs.

Paul Merson played with him at Villa and he spoke movingly about his former team-mate on Sky Sports News.

"I am still devastated. He was such a top bloke it was unbelievable," said Merson.

"He was a man-mountain. You know what, Billy Joel always sings a song, 'Only the good die young'."

Former Ireland defender Paul McGrath played alongside Ehiogu in the Aston Villa defence between 1991 and 1996 and tweeted, "Devastated for Ugo, a great friend. Heart goes out to his family and friends." 

Former Aston Villa midfielder Ian Taylor also paid tribute to his former team-mate. 

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce said Ehiogu's sudden passing has devastated everyone at the club.

Bruce says the news is tough to take.

"We're all shocked and devastated by the news of somebody so young [passing away], somebody who I played against in the '94 [League] Cup final and in these moments you think of his family," said Bruce.