George Best's father, Dickie, dies in hospital
The father of footballing legend George Best has died in hospital.
Dickie Best, 88, was surrounded by his family as he passed away in the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald at around 1pm today.
Mr Best, who lived in Burren Way on the Cregagh Estate in east Belfast, was admitted to hospital four weeks ago.
He had been in intensive care ever since. His son George died in November 2005 after a long battle with alcoholism.
A family statement said: "Over the years, as everyone knows, Dad had his sorrows to bear but he faced them always with courage and dignity.
"He was a man who took great joy and pride in his family.
"He was an irreplaceable father whose bravery, integrity, wisdom and above all love shaped our lives."
The lord mayor of Belfast, Jim Rodgers, described Mr Best as "one of life's true gentlemen".
In a club statement, Manchester United expressed sadness at Mr Best's passing.
"Dickie was hugely proud of his son George’s achievements at Manchester United and was always a welcome guest here at Old Trafford.
"Everyone at the club was saddened to hear the news of Dickie’s sad passing and we send our condolences to the Best family, as do, we’re sure, United fans all around the world."
The statement posted on the club's website added: "The Reds' legend George Best died in 2005, but he is still fondly remembered at Old Trafford."
Mr Best was patron of the George Best Foundation which raises cash for local football and funds research into liver disease and alcoholism.
A statement on the foundation's website said: "Mr Best was a loving and supportive father to all his sons and daughters and to the wider families. He was our hero and is hard to imagine life without him."
Mr Best had recently criticised those who refused to believe alcoholism was an illness.
"We as a family know what alcoholism is like," he said last year.
"It is an illness, and that has been verified by doctors throughout the world.
"But there are still people out there who have their opinions. Some people open their mouths and don't really know what they are talking about, "