Former Aston Villa chairman Sir Doug Ellis has died at the age of 94.
Ellis had two spells as chairman of the West Midlands club, with the second one running from 1982 to 2006.
After selling the club to American businessman Randy Lerner, Ellis became life president.
When Villa were relegated from the Premier League in April 2016 he told the BBC he “could not be any sadder” and hoped to live to see them return to the top flight.
He attended Villa’s Championship play-off final defeat by Fulham at Wembley in May.
Ellis was knighted in 2012 for his services to charity and has buildings named after him at both Birmingham University and Aston University after making substantial donations to both institutions.
He made his money in the travel industry and during his time in football earned the nickname “Deadly Doug” because of his reputation for sacking managers who under-performed.
In a statement, the club said they were deeply saddened to learn of Ellis’ death and he had “dedicated his life to Aston Villa”.
A minute’s silence will be held before Villa’s next home game against Swansea City on Saturday, 20 October.
‘To me you were fantastic’
Former Aston Villa manager Brian Little, who led the team to success in the 1996 League Cup – the last trophy they won under Ellis’ stewardship – posted on Twitter: “I was always taught to speak as you find. To me you were fantastic. RIP Sir Doug.”
Ex-Villa striker Stan Collymore said that Ellis had “made it possible to fulfil my dream of playing for Villa, something I’ll be eternally grateful to him for”, while former midfielder Ian Taylor said Ellis had “played a massive part in our football club” and was “Villa through and through”.
Mayor of Birmingham and Aston Villa fan Andy Street said: “Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Sir Doug Ellis. He was a man who was not only the guardian of my football club but was also a great philanthropist whose charity work was rightly recognised with a knighthood. My sympathies to his friends and family.”