The Football world came to a standstill after the news of Leicester City’s Thai billionaire boss Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was killed in a helicopter crash. Vichai was among the five people killed soon after the helicopter took off from the pitch and burst into flames while landing on the Premier League side’s stadium car parking.
Vichai, the man behind club’s 2016 Premier League victory, was given a bid adieu by the fans who had laid flowers outside the club’s King Power Stadium after Saturday’s incident.
“The world has lost a great man,” the club said in a statement.
“Leicester City was a family under his leadership. It is a family that we all grieve his passing and maintain the pursuit of a vision for the club that is now his legacy,” it said.
The news has led the team to postpone its upcoming League Cup fixture against Southampton. A book of condolence will be opened at the stadium from Tuesday.
Vichai, 60, was a regular flyer, traveling to and from just to attend every match of the club. He owned Thailand’s King Power duty-free empire.
Eye-witnesses said that the helicopter appeared to develop some mechanical problems in its rear propeller moments after the take-off.
“Struggling to find the right words… but to me, you are a legend, an incredible man who had the biggest heart, the soul of Leicester City Football Club,” striker Jamie Vardy said in an interview.
A minute’s silence was observed before the whistle of Sunday’s Premier League matches.
Former Leicester player, Gary Lineker, who was hosting the BBC’s Match of the Day when the incident happened, tweeted: “That was the most difficult @BBCMOTD I’ve ever hosted… A terrible tragedy. Heart-breaking.”
Both Spanish clubs Barcelona and Real Madrid expressed their condolences and honoured the efforts made by Vichai in bringing a remarkable rise in Leicester City across the continent.
“The club wants to show their condolences to his family, his friends, and all the Leicester fans,” said European champions Madrid in a statement.
“Our thoughts are with the whole @lcfc family. Rest in peace,” Barca posted on Twitter.