Newcastle United fans and former players have been paying tribute to Pavel Srnicek following his death at the age of 47.
The hugely popular former goalkeeper suffered a cardiac arrest while out jogging in his native Czech Republic on December 20 and suffered irreversible brain damage.
His agent Steve Wraith said in a statement: “It is with deep sadness that I have to announce the passing of former Newcastle United player Pavel Srnicek.
“Pavel suffered a cardiac arrest before the Christmas period in his home country and had been in an induced coma in hospital with his close family around his bedside.
“Despite the best medical attention the final brain scans on Monday showed irreversible damage and the decision had to be taken to switch off the life support machine. Pav passed away on the afternoon of Tuesday, December 29 2015 with his family by his side.
“Pavel, the goalkeeping coach at Sparta Prague, had recently been on a whistle-stop tour of Tyneside to promote his autobiography, ‘Pavel Is A Geordie’, something that he was very proud of.
“My final conversation with him was about getting the entertainers team back together one more time for charity next year as it will be 20 years since that Newcastle team almost won the Premier League.
“We will make that happen and celebrate this great man’s life together. United. Fans and players alike.”
Srnicek made 190 appearances for Newcastle between 1991 and 1998 and went on to have spells with Sheffield Wednesday, Portsmouth and West Ham before returning to St James’ Park in 2006.
His release the following year brought an end to his playing career but he remained in the game and was working as goalkeeping coach at Sparta Prague when he collapsed.
But he considered Newcastle his home club and it is in the North East where his loss will be felt most keenly within football.
The Magpies said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that we have learned of the passing of former Newcastle United goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek today.
“The thoughts of everyone at Newcastle United are with Pavel’s family, many friends, former colleagues and supporters at this very difficult time.”
The club requested for supporters to lay flowers at the Alder Sweeney Memorial Garden at St James’ Park, and by Tuesday evening plenty of tributes had already been left.
Srnicek was an integral figure in Kevin Keegan’s ‘entertainers’ team that nearly won the Premier League title in 1995/96.
Former team-mates Gavin Peacock, Darren Peacock, Warren Barton, Robbie Elliott, Rob Lee, Andy Cole, Steve Watson and Peter Beardsley were among those to pay tribute on Twitter.
Alan Shearer, who joined his home-town club in 1996, wrote: “So very, very sad to lose my friend and former teammate @PavelSrnicekUK My thoughts are with his family at this awful time. #NUFC #RIPPavel”
Long-serving former Toon keeper Steve Harper was understudy to Srnicek for several years, and he wrote: “A truly beautiful soul has left this world far too early!! Thank you so much for everything you did for me Pav.”
The goalkeeping fraternity also paid their respects, with fellow Czech Petr Cech saying: “R.I.P. Pavel .All thoughts are with your family!”
Peter Schmeichel, whose career at Manchester United ran parallel to Srnicek’s at Newcastle, wrote: “It is with incredible sadness that I’ve have learned that Pavel Srnicek has died. A gentleman and a great sportsman. RIP my friend”
Newcastle fans sang their support for Srnicek during the Boxing Day clash with Everton at the request of the Czech’s family.
The son of a woodcutter, he was born in Ostrava and was capped 49 times by the Czech Republic.
In a tribute to Srnicek on their website, Sparta Prague said: “We will never forget you, Pavel!”