Arsenal FanTV pundit Claude Callegari has reportedly died, aged 58.
Callegari had amassed a cult following for his impassioned post-match speeches and scathing reviews of Arsenal, particularly former manager Arsene Wenger, who he regularly called to be sacked before the Frenchman resigned.
His death was on Tuesday announced by his family on social media, although the cause is unknown.
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The statement read: “We can’t believe we are writing this, with permission from Claude’s father, it is with great sadness and a broken heart that we have to announce that our dear friend and legend Claude sadly passed away yesterday afternoon, March 29.
“RIP dear friend, gone but never forgotten. Gooner for life.”
Two days before Callegari’s death, he tweeted that he would “disappear soon to see my mother then you can all be happy.”
Footballers paid tribute to the 58-year-old on social media on Tuesday, including former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell.
“Deepest condolences to Claude’s Father and family. I honestly am shocked and can’t believe it! May he R.I.E.P,” he wrote.
Former Tottenham and Chelsea striker Graham Roberts wrote: “Had the pleasure of meeting Claude at my flat last year … he was a wonderful guy and real laugh I know he had some personal problems but he had an amazing heart and rivalries aside we had a great evening. Rip mate.”
Meanwhile, fellow AFTV pundit Moh Haider posted: “Claude was an unbelievably passionate Arsenal man and was brilliantly witty, but unfortunately in a world where people take more pride in being ‘savage’ than being nice, he had his ups and downs.
“I really hope that Claude passed away peacefully and painlessly, and my condolences go out to all of his family, friends, fans and all of the millions of people who smiled because of Claude. Rest in peace Claude.”
Callegari had not appeared on AFTV since July last year when he was caught using a racist term for Tottenham’s Son Heun-Min.
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