Darius Vassell has paid tribute to his former Aston Villa team-mate Jlloyd Samuel, who he says will “forever be missed”.
Samuel was killed in a car accident in Cheshire on Tuesday at the age of 37.
He played in Villa’s defence between 1999 and 2007, while former forward Vassell made his debut for the club in 1998 and left in 2005.
Vassell said on Villa’s official website on Thursday: “Jlloyd was my brother on and off the pitch. He encouraged me to believe in myself as a player and person and always checked up on me to make sure I was OK.
“I’ve never met someone who could smile their way through adversity like Jlloyd.
“He always found a way to stand tall and provide support for those he loved and cherished whilst enjoying the finer things in life like family, music, art, travel and the general freedom to express his warm personality.
“Wherever he went he made an impact. He did not deserve this, it’s still impossible for me to fathom.
“I was there when he met and fell in love with his partner and I was a privileged guest at their private wedding ceremony. Since then I’ve witnessed her become an amazing mother and devoted wife. She doesn’t deserve to suffer such heartbreak.
“Jlloyd showed me that he was much more than a footballer and through him I have met so many special people and gained so much knowledge of what our world has to offer us.
“My deepest condolences go out to his wife and family, especially his four beautiful children. Jlloyd Samuel – you will forever be missed.”