Son pays tribute to idol as former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell dies aged 54

Kevin Campbell dies aged 54

Son pays tribute to former Arsenal striker

Kevin Campbell has been described as “my idol” and a “one in a million person” by son Tyrese after his death at the age of 54.

The former Arsenal and Everton striker, a title and FA Cup winner with the Gunners and a hero at Goodison Park after saving the Toffees from relegation in 1999, died after a short illness.

“I appreciate my Dad was admired by many and the outpouring of love has been some comfort as a family, so thank you for that at such a difficult time,” former Stoke striker Tyrese said in a message released on his behalf by journalist Alan Myers.

“The pain of this is indescribable and as a son you look at your dad as invincible. He is my idol, the one I wanted to be when I grew up.

“He was the life and soul of every party and room he blessed, a one in a million person that was loved by everyone, a special, special person. I’ll miss you dad.

“I would now ask that the privacy of our family is respected as we mourn the loss of an irreplaceable father, brother, uncle and all round amazing human being. Love you always dad.”

Campbell’s former clubs – he also played for Nottingham Forest, Trabzonspor, West Brom and Cardiff, as well as having loan spells at Leyton Orient and Leicester – and ex-teammates also paid tribute to a forward who scored 148 goals in 542 appearances during his career.

Former England captain and Everton teammate Wayne Rooney wrote on X: “Absolutely devastated to hear the news about Kev.

“Thinking of all his family and friends. Kev was a great teammate but more importantly a brilliant person who helped me a lot in my earlier years.”

Tony Adams, Campbell’s former Arsenal teammate and captain, posted: “Super Kev: a goal machine, a giant of a man, with an even bigger heart.

“An intensely private and a truly wonderful human being. I’m devastated for his loved ones, and all of us. Love you Super Kev, Skipper.”

Clinton Morrison said he grew up in South London inspired by the “goals and celebrations” of Campbell and Arsenal strike partner Ian Wright.

“Being a London boy and growing up watching him and Ian Wright playing together was brilliant for us youngsters,” former Crystal Palace and Republic of Ireland striker Morrison told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“The way they scored goals and the way they celebrated, that’s how we were, looking up to those two players as idols.

“We thought ‘look how they score goals, look how they’re enjoying themselves, look how they’re celebrating’.

“Kev was like that even when he finished football. He still had that bright smile and I only remember the good stuff, brightening up a room and being a top player and a great individual.”

Campbell scored 59 goals in 224 games for Arsenal and, alongside the 1990-91 league title, he also won the FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup at Highbury.

He spent three years at Forest after joining them in 1995 and had a one-season stop at Trabzonspor in Turkey before moving to Everton in 1999.

He stayed at Everton until 2005, where he spent time as captain under Walter Smith, and ended his career with spells at West Brom and Cardiff.

Arsenal said Campbell was “adored by everyone at the club”, adding: “All of us are thinking of his friends and family at this difficult time. Rest in peace, Kevin.”

Everton said in a club statement: “Not just a true Goodison Park hero and icon of the English game, but an incredible person as well – as anyone who ever met him will know. RIP, Super Kev.”

A Forest tribute read: “Kevin spent three seasons at #NFFC and was part of the side which earned promotion from the First Division as champions in 1998. Our thoughts are with his friends and family during this difficult time.”

The official England X account posted: “We are devastated to learn that Kevin Campbell has passed away aged 54.

“Kevin won four caps for our under-21s and represented our B team in the early 1990s. Our thoughts are with Kevin’s family, friends and loved ones.”

The Premier League and English Football League also paid tribute to a larger-than-life character.

Campbell worked in the media after his playing career and was known for his dress sense, which included the wearing of bow ties.

Fellow pundit Tony Cottee, another former Everton striker, wrote on X: “I am so devastated to hear the news of the passing of Kevin Campbell.

“The nicest man you could wish to meet and a fantastic player. Thoughts to his friends and family. RIP Kev.”

Former England winger Shaun Wright-Phillips said: “Really gutted to hear the sad news of Kevin Campbell passing.

“A fantastic goalscorer, but more importantly an even better human. What a gentleman. Thinking of Kevin’s friends and family today, you will be missed Kev. RIP.”

Campbell was a member of the Black Footballers Partnership, which works to increase the voice and influence of black footballers.

“Our condolences to his family and the people of Brixton, Lambeth who have lost one of their greatest sons,” the BFP said.

“Kevin meant so much to so many fans across the country – especially Arsenal, Everton, Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City who he played for in his stellar career.

“We are going to miss him dearly. May he rest in eternal peace. We love and will miss you Kevin.”

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