Former Aston Villa midfielder Peter Whittingham dies aged 35
Former Aston Villa midfielder Peter Whittingham has tragically passed away, aged 35.
News emerged this week of the ex-midfielder being hospitalised after an accidental fall - with reports earlier claiming that he had passed away.
South Wales Police issued a statement confirming that the ex-Cardiff City player was in hospital, but the Welsh club have today announced that Whittingham sadly passed away.
"It is with an immeasurable amount of sorrow that we must inform supporters that Peter Whittingham has passed away at the age of 35." The Cardiff statement read.
"We are heartbroken."
"The news of Peter’s sudden and untimely passing has shaken us to our very foundation. Our love goes out to his wife Amanda, their young son and family. They are at the forefront of our thoughts and, on their behalf, we ask for their privacy to be respected at this unfathomably cruel and difficult time.
"First and foremost, Peter was a family man - and somebody who could light up a room with his sense of humour, warmth and personality. Then, as a professional footballer - as a Bluebird - he excelled with talent, ease, grace and humility. Nobody did it better.
"The loss of Peter will be painfully felt by our city, supporters and indeed all who ever had the pleasure of knowing him. We love you Pete and your memory will eternally stay with us."
Aston Villa tweeted a tribute to Whittingham online following the news, passing the club's thoughts to his loved ones.
"All at Aston Villa are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Peter Whittingham, an Academy graduate and FA Youth Cup winner who represented our first team between 2003 and 2007." the club said.
"Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this incredibly difficult time."
Former Villa midfielder Ian Taylor expressed his condolences to his former teammate online following the news.
"Deepest condolences go out to Peter Whittingham’s friends and family. A talented player that came through during my latter years." he tweeted.
Ex-teammate Lee Hendrie also paid tribute to Whittingham on Twitter:
"Devastating news about Peter Whittingham." he said.
"What a lad funny Whitty and what a baller. Had some good times with you lad. Gone to soon. R.I.P. heart goes out to all the family."
Former Villa striker Stan Collymore also paid tribute to the midfielder:
"Sincerest of condolences to the family and friends of Pete Whittingham after his passing today." he said.
"A very shy lad who found his football voice in Cardiff but who left many friends at Aston Villa on and off the pitch."
"Rest in peace."
Whittingham is best known for his lengthy spell with Cardiff, for whom he made more than 400 appearances - scoring 85 times.
He made his Villa first-team debut in 2003, and spent time on-loan at Burnley and Derby County before heading to south Wales in 2007.
He went on to spend a decade at the club, joining Blackburn in 2017.
He never made a senior England appearance, despite notching 17 appearances at U21 level.