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Cyrille leaves void that cannot be filled: widow

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Cyrille Regis

Cyrille Regis

PA

Cyrille Regis

Cyrille Regis' widow Julia has described her late husband as a "role model" and "a very precious treasure" after his death at the age of 59.

The death of the former West Brom and Coventry striker has sparked glowing tributes to a man who blazed a trail for black footballers in England.

Julia said in a statement: "Cyrille and I were soulmates. He was the perfect man for me and we had a wonderful life together. He was a beautiful man and a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle.

"Losing him has turned my whole world upside down, it is a void that will never be filled."

John Sillett, who managed Coventry to the FA Cup in 1987 with Regis in the side, spoke warmly of him. He said: "He was a gentle giant in many ways and a majestic player. As a man managing a side, you could not wish for a better team player.

"He was a majestic player on the ball, he had great vision, good touch and strength and pace. A powerful, powerful player, and he was so proud when England picked him again.

"He loved his country, he loved his football and he loved his team-mates. He was so popular with everybody."

West Brom chairman John Williams offered his condolences to Regis' family, saying: "Everyone will have their precious memories of him as a family man, as a crusader against bigotry - which can never be underestimated - and as a man who threw considerable energy into a series of worthy causes.

"But for me, I will never forget Cyrille the footballer - a wonderful player who had everything and who defenders of the time would have hated facing."

Broadcaster and West Brom supporter Adrian Chiles stated: "In later years, I was privileged to get to know him as a friend and he just didn't carry anger with him from that time.

"Ian Wright said, 'We were like Malcolm X... but Cyrille was like Martin Luther King', Cyrille was always turning the other cheek.

"They did so much for the game and so much for the cause of black footballers."

Belfast Telegraph