Everton chairman Bill Kenwright says Gary Speed was 'everything a footballer should aspire to be' after learning of the Wales manager's tragic passing.
News of Speed's death at the age of 42 was announced on Sunday morning and tributes have poured in for the former midfielder.
Kenwright has added his voice to those honouring a man who was held in high regard throughout the sporting world.
Speed spent two years at Goodison Park during his playing days, between 1996 and 1998, and Kenwright has described him as a consummate professional.
He told Everton's official website: "Gary was everything a footballer should aspire to be. Committed but elegant, hard-working but full of style, a player who didn't know how to give anything other than 100 per cent to the football club he played for.
"He loved football as much as football loved him and will be hugely missed as a player, a manager and a man.
"Everyone at Everton Football Club - fans, coaches, players, staff and directors - send their deepest condolences to Gary's family at this desperately sad time."
Toffees boss David Moyes has also expressed his shock at hearing of the news that has rocked the football community.
He said: "It is extremely sad and upsetting to hear the news on Gary Speed.
"Gary was a great servant to Everton during his time at Goodison and myself and the rest of the squad were as shocked as the rest of the footballing world when we heard the news.
"It's hard to understand and obviously the thoughts and prayers of everyone connected with the club are with the family at what is a very difficult time"