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Former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell dies aged 54 following illness

'An icon, a goal machine' - Ex-Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell dies aged 54
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Former Arsenal and Everton striker dies at the age of 54 following a short illness, triggering a wave of tributes from the footballing community.

Former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell has died at the age of 54 following a short illness.

The late attacker was reported to have been "very" unwell in hospital at the start of the month and is now confirmed to have passed away, triggering a wave of tributes from his erstwhile clubs and teammates.

Campbell came through Arsenal's youth network and spent 10 years at Highbury from 1985 to 1995, scoring 59 goals in 228 matches and winning the First Division, FA Cup, EFL Cup, Charity Shield and European Cup Winners' Cup.

The Englishman subsequently represented Nottingham Forest and Turkish outlet Trabzonspor before a successful spell at Everton, who signed him on an initial loan deal in 1999 before making his stay permanent that same summer for £3m.

While on the books at Goodison Park, Campbell registered 51 goals in 164 matches from 1999 to 2005, and he was also the first black man to captain the ever-present Premier League club.

Brief stints at West Bromwich Albion and Cardiff City followed for the striker before his retirement in 2007, and he was fondly remembered by his former teams when news of his death broke on Saturday morning.

Tony Adams: 'Campbell was a truly wonderful human'

"We are devastated to learn that our former striker Kevin Campbell has died after a short illness. Kevin was adored by everyone at the club. He remained a dear and cherished friend to many at the club, always maintaining the close links that began in his very early days at Highbury. All of us are thinking of his friends and family at this difficult time. Rest in peace Kevin," Arsenal said.

Ex-Gunners captain Tony Adams - a former teammate of Campbell's - paid a moving tribute on X, describing the striker as a "goal machine" and a "truly wonderful" human.

"Super Kev: a goal machine, a giant of a man, with an even bigger heart. An intensely private and a truly wonderful human being. I'm devastated for his loved ones, and all of us. Love you Super Kev, Skipper," Adams wrote.

Everton also echoed Adams's sentiment, hailing Campbell as an "icon of the English game" and confirming that they would commemorate his life when they begin the 2024-25 season.

"Everyone at Everton is deeply saddened by the death of our former striker Kevin Campbell at the age of just 54. Not just a true Goodison Park hero and icon of the English game, but an incredible person as well - as anyone who ever met him will know," the Toffees said.

"Kevin was always afforded the warmest of welcomes when he returned to Merseyside – and quite right, too. He was a giant of a man, a fabulous footballer and he will be sorely missed by everyone fortunate enough to know him.

"The thoughts of everyone at Everton are with his family at this extremely sad time and we will, of course, pay a suitable tribute when next season kicks off."

Campbell represented England at Under-21 level and for the B team but never made his full senior debut, meaning that he remains the highest scorer in Premier League history without a Three Lions cap, netting 83 times in the competition.

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