Legendary England goalkeeper Gordon Banks has died at the age of 81.
The World Cup-winning goalkeeper, Banks passed away with family at his side after his health deteriorated significantly in recent weeks and he leaves behind wife Ursula and their three children Julia, Robert and Wendy.
The former Stoke and Leicester City goalkeeper endured battles with cancer for many years and in recent months had been undergoing gruelling spells of chemotherapy.
Stoke confirmed the news on Tuesday morning on Twitter writing: “From the family of Gordon Banks. It is with great sadness that we announce that Gordon passed away peacefully overnight.”
“We are devastated to lose him but we have so many happy memories and could not have been more proud of him.”
Four years after lifting the World Cup his worldwide fame rocketed again thanks to his so-called ‘save of the century’ to deny Pele and Brazil in the 1970 finals.
Banks rose through the ranks in his early years playing for Chesterfield and Leicester before joining Stoke in 1967 and he quickly became a key figure in the Potters side.
He won the League Cup with Stoke in 1972 but later that year saw his career cut short after a car accident left him blind in one eye.
Tributes soon flooded in when the news broke on Tuesday with former England striker Gary Lineker hailing Banks as his ‘hero’.
Lineker wrote: “Oh no. Gordon Banks, an absolute hero of mine, and countless others, has died. @England’s World Cup winner was one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, and such a lovely, lovely man. RIPGordon”.
Manchester City and England star Raheem Sterling added: “Of course there was THAT save, but its so much more we are mourning today. RIP Gordon Banks. @England legend, your legacy will live on. All my thoughts with the family.”
His effect on the footballing world was huge and governing body FIFA hailed him as a champion: ‘Once a champion, always a champion.
“We are deeply sorry to hear of the death of @England World Cup winner @thegordonbanks. He was one of the game’s greatest goalkeepers, a provider of stunning World Cup memories & a gentleman. Our thoughts are with his family & friends.”