Jonathan Ford, the chief executive of the Football Association of Wales, admits news of Gary Speed's death came as 'a bolt from the blue'.
The FAW was informed of the tragic death of their national coach on Sunday morning, with the news sending shockwaves through the sporting world.
Ford is coming to terms with the fact that Speed is no longer part of the Welsh football family and says it will be some time before the nation is ready to move on.
"We are all completely numb," he told Sky Sports News HD.
"The shock of it all yesterday, the numbness we felt, it's a surreal situation we find ourselves in and of course we are all deeply saddened. Our condolences must be with the family at this moment in time."
Asked when he had last been in contact with Speed, Ford said: "I spoke with Gary last week. This came as a bolt from the blue. I had an early morning call from the police on Sunday and then I have been dealing with it ever since. It's very sad news.
"What a shock it was. It was a shock to everybody that has been involved and we have had tributes come in from all across the world. The messages have come through from all walks of life. It's just a surreal situation we find ourselves in.
"Gary was a fantastic man and a fantastic professional on and off the field. He was a charismatic man and he had a massive twinkle in his eye. Of course, that twinkle is unfortunately no longer there."
Wales were planning for an exciting future with Speed at the helm, with the former Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United midfielder having helped to turn results around.
Ford added: "He turned it around. We were in a place where the team weren't performing where it needed to be. The players weren't quite playing with their heart and Gary pulled that around.
"Gary wasn't the most experienced manager we interviewed, but it was Gary that we employed. He was the man, ultimately the person, that we bought into and the players bought into that. Everyone is deeply saddened by this news.
"I wouldn't just say he was one of the nicest men in football, he's one of the nicest men I've ever met."
Pressed on where Welsh football goes from here, Ford said: "At the moment our thoughts have to be with the family, we aren't even thinking about anything other than that. We must pay our respects and our condolences go to the family at this moment in time."