Wales manager and former Everton captain Gary Speed has died at the age of 42.
The announcement was made on Sunday afternoon by his employers at the Football Association of Wales.
Speed, a boyhood Evertonian, joined the Blues in 1996 from Leeds United and made 65 appearances, scoring 18 goals before departing for Newcastle United in 1998.
Chief Executive Robert Elstone said: “It is with the very deepest of regret that we have today learned of the passing of Gary.
“Gary was a popular player during his time here at Goodison Park and on behalf of the Board of Directors, management, players, staff and fans of Everton I would like to extend our sympathies to his family at this extremely difficult time.”
Speed also played for Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield United in a long and distinguished career as well as making 85 appearances for Wales.
Members of Everton's current squad have been paying tribute to Speed on Twitter.
Tim Cahill was first to Tweet, he said: "Gary Speed was the ultimate pro on and off the pitch. So sad to lose someone so special to football, friends, fans, family Rest in Peace mate."
Everton captain Phil Neville added his thoughts: "Horrific news about Gary speed my thoughts and prayers are with his family."
And Blues striker Louis Saha said he was 'destroyed' after hearing of Speed's passing.
He Tweeted: "Absolutely destroyed by the news. Love the guy and everything he represents as a professional. All my Prayers go to the Speed family. Strength."