LEEDS UNITED legend Norman Hunter has passed away aged 76 after testing positive for coronavirus.
The hard-tackling defender was admitted to hospital last week after contracting COVID-19.
In a statement released this Friday morning, his old club confirmed he had sadly died.
"Leeds United are devastated to learn of the passing of club legend Norman Hunter at the age of 76," it read.
"Norman was taken to hospital last week after being diagnosed with COVID-19 and, despite continuing to battle and the best efforts of NHS staff, he sadly lost his fight earlier this morning.”
"He leaves a huge hole in the Leeds United family, his legacy will never be forgotten, and our thoughts are with Norman's family and friends at this very difficult time."
Rest in peace Norman pic.twitter.com/Fq38EJK6Pn
— Leeds United (@LUFC) April 17, 2020
A former England international who was part of the squad that lifted the World Cup in 1966, Hunter was best remembered as part of Don Revie's famous title-winning Leeds teams in 1969 and 1974.
The no-holds-barred defender, who earned the nickname Norman ‘Bites Yer Legs’ Hunter, made more than 500 appearances for Leeds, winning the FA Cup, League Cup and two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups during a 20-year career that also included stints with Bristol City and Barnsley.
RIP Norman Hunter, 76, from #coronavirus.
One of the hardest men to ever play football, earning himself the nickname ‘Bites Yer Legs’. Also one of the best defenders to grace the game, & was part of England’s 1966 World Cup winning squad.
Very sad news. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/EGbdXMSfSR
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 17, 2020
All told, Hunter made 28 appearances for England between 1965 and 1974 though he did not initially receive a winner’s medal at the 1966 World Cup after failing to feature in the final.
Hunter was eventually presented with a winner's medal in 2009 following an FA-led campaign to persuade FIFA to honour the entire squad.
News of Hunter’s sad death has prompted a string of tributes on Twitter.
Sad news: Norman Hunter has passed away. Grew up watching that great @LUFC side of which he was a huge part. This awful virus was one crunching tackle too far but he’ll be biting yer legs somewhere. RIP Norman https://t.co/TpBjJNU4Ll
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) April 17, 2020
Match of the Day host and fellow England star Gary Lineker wrote: "Sad news: Norman Hunter has passed away. Grew up watching that great @LUFC side of which he was a huge part. This awful virus was one crunching tackle too far but he’ll be biting yer legs somewhere. RIP Norman."
Fellow Three Lions star Peter Reid echoed those sentiments, writing: "RIP Norman Hunter, a giant of a man."
Fellow ex-Leeds star Brian Deane, meanwhile, wrote: "When I first joined the club it’s no secret I struggled to settle in.
"My Mum used to listen to the games on the radio and she used to say ‘Brian you’ve got a friend in Norman Hunter.' Thank you Norman you wonderful man."