Gareth Southgate "stunned" by death of ex-teammate Ugo Ehiogu

Ugo Ehiogu of MK Dons in action during the pre season friendly match between MK Dons and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stadiummk on July 28, 2009
© Getty Images
Gareth Southgate pays a warm tribute to his former teammate Ugo Ehiogu, who has died at the age of 44 after suffering a cardiac arrest on Thursday.

England manager Gareth Southgate has paid tribute to "gentle giant" Ugo Ehiogu and says that he has been left "stunned and deeply saddened" by his ex-teammate's death.

Ehiogu died at the age of 44 in the early hours of Friday morning after suffering a cardiac arrest at Tottenham Hotspur's training ground, where he had been working as an Under-23s coach since 2014.

Many past and present players have reacted to the sudden passing of the former defender, while Southgate - who spent close to a decade alongside Ehiogu with Aston Villa and Middlesbrough - has now paid his regards.

"He was a gentle giant away from football, he was a colossus on the pitch," the Three Lions boss said in a statement. "I'm stunned and deeply saddened by Ugo's passing and clearly my initial thoughts are with his wife Gemma, his children and his family. I know that football will be grieving because he was so highly respected by everybody he worked with and losing him at such a young age is difficult to come to terms with.

"Most importantly, he was a gentleman and he is one of those characters that people would find it difficult to have anything bad to say about him. I probably played more games with Ugo than anybody else in my career and while in many ways he was a gentle giant away from football, he was a colossus on the pitch.

"It felt like a true partnership with Ugo because we were prepared to put our bodies on the line for each other. We shared highs, lows and won a couple of trophies together with Villa and Boro and it's those memories that I will always cherish when I think of Ugo. He was one of the most professional people I played with in terms of how he applied himself to his job and it was great to see him progressing through the coaching pathway with that thirst for learning.

"I've spoken to several of our former teammates today and there's just a sense of disbelief that we're having these conversations. Ugo was a credit to football, a credit to his family and he will be missed by everybody who was lucky enough to know him."

Southgate won the League Cup with Ehiogu during their time together at both Villa and Boro.

Ugo Ehiogu of MK Dons in action during the pre season friendly match between MK Dons and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stadiummk on July 28, 2009
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