Arsenal hailed Jose Antonio Reyes’ “special place” in Gunners’ history after the 35-year-old died in a car crash.
Reyes’ old club Sevilla acclaimed the former Spain striker as “beloved” in confirming his death.
The livewire forward formed part of Arsenal’s ‘invicibles’ that swept to the 2004 Premier League title without suffering defeat.
“Everyone at Arsenal is devastated by the shocking news that our former player Jose Antonio Reyes has died in a traffic collision in Spain,” read Arsenal’s statement.
“Our thoughts are with all his family, friends and team-mates.
“Jose, who was part of the Invincibles team, was a hugely popular figure at our club and will always hold a special place in our hearts.
“He represented the club on 110 occasions, scoring 23 times and made memorable contributions to our 49-game unbeaten run. Rest in peace, Jose.”
Arsenal signed Reyes for £10.5million in January 2004, with the then 20-year-old helping the Gunners complete their remarkable unbeaten league season under Arsene Wenger, who expressed his condolences.
“I am devastated to hear the terrible news about Jose,” said Wenger via a tweet issued by Arsenal.
“To his family and friends, all support from everyone in the Arsenal family. He will remain forever in our hearts.”
Former Arsenal and France striker Thierry Henry admitted his distress in a heartfelt Twitter post.
“I’m devastated to hear the sad news about Jose Antonio Reyes,” read Henry’s Tweet.
“Wonderful player, superb team-mate and exceptional human being. I wish his family and friends continued strength and courage to get through this difficult time.”
Current Arsenal manager Unai Emery, who coached Reyes for three and a half seasons at Sevilla from 2013-16, also expressed his profound sadness.
Tweeting in Spanish, Emery’s words translated as: “Deeply sad and speechless after learning of this tragic news. I’ll never forget your magic and your smile Jose, never. It was an honour to be by your side…a strong hug and all the spirit of the world to family, friends and clubs he represented. RIP friend.”