Leyton Orient manager Justin Edinburgh has died at the age of 49 – five days after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Edinburgh, who guided Orient back into the English Football League in 2018-19, had been taken to hospital on Monday.
“We are completely heartbroken by this tragedy,” Orient chairman Nigel Travis told the club’s website.
Edinburgh, who won the FA Cup as a Spurs player, managed Northampton Town, Gillingham and Newport County before moving to Orient in November 2017.
“All our thoughts and love are with the Edinburgh family and we know from the messages that have flooded into the club over the last week that the wider football world will share our sentiments,” added Travis.
“The success that Justin brought to Leyton Orient was incredible, but more importantly the impact he had on us all as a winner and a wonderful, inspirational human being will be his legacy and will stay with us forever.
“All our thoughts are with Justin’s wife Kerri and their children Charlie and Cydnie.”
Success as player and manager
After turning professional at Southend, Edinburgh – a left-back – spent a decade playing for Tottenham, making 258 appearances and winning the FA Cup in 1991 and League Cup in 1999 before moving to Portsmouth.
He became player-manager of non-league Billericay Town in 2003 before spells at Fisher Athletic and Rushden and Diamonds.
His managerial breakthrough came at Newport County, whom he led to promotion to League Two in 2013 having guided them to the FA Trophy final a year earlier.
A 23-month spell at Gillingham from January 2015 followed, before nine months at Northampton in 2016-2017.
He was appointed Orient boss in November of 2017, and led the club to 45 wins in his 82 games in charge.
Tributes to ‘a true professional’ and ‘wonderful man’
Northampton Town tweeted: “Everyone at Northampton Town Football Club is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former manager Justin Edinburgh.”
Gillingham tweeted: “The thoughts of everybody at Gillingham Football Club are with Justin Edinburgh’s friends, family and colleagues at Leyton Orient at this very difficult time. Such sad news. RIP Justin Edinburgh.”
Former Spurs player and manager Glenn Hoddle tweeted he was “devastated” by “the very sad and tragic news”.
Orient defender Marvin Ekpiteta tweeted he was “lost for words” while winger James Brophy posted: “A wonderful man, who had a positive impact on everyone he met no matter how much time you’d spent with him! Never be forgotten! Thank you for everything.”
League Managers’ Association chairman Howard Wilkinson said: “Justin will be remembered by all in the game as a true professional. A hard-working man who became successful as a player at the highest level of the game and turned his love of football into a lifelong career as a coach and as a manager.”
Gary Neville, who co-owns Salford City – who were beaten to the National League title by Orient, described Edinburgh as “a champion that managed a team that played with your spirit”.
BBC London’s Orient reporter Dave Victor tweeted: “Justin Edinburgh was a man of great integrity who commanded respect.
“Justin was a winner. His passion for the game he loved, together with his ability to inspire, enabled others to achieve so much.”
More to follow.