Tributes have been puring in following the sudden death of former footballer Gary Pearson at just 45 from a suspected heart attack.
The former Darlington FC player who was well known throughout the North East having played for and managed a number of clubs, was about to start his new role as the manager of Billington Town FC.
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Pearson had treatment recently for a heart condition, and was resting at home on Thursday when it is understood he died. An ambulance crew arrived but they were unable to save him.
ITV reports: Club chairman Kevin Close said that everyone at the Teesside club was grieving following the news that Gary had died at home on Thursday.
He said: “He was so fit and healthy, we are just in shock. A couple of weeks ago he had a heart attack while on the pitch and was taken to James Cook Hospital. They put a stent in and he was expected to make a full recovery.
He was at home, relaxing like he was told to do, for a few weeks. He said he was feeling unwell and collapsed in the house.”Kevin said the ambulance crew arrived within a few minutes, but despite their best efforts Gary passed away.
He added: “We are all just devastated. He was one of the best blokes.”Gary, who hailed from Seaham, was only appointed to Billingham Town FC at the end of May and Kevin said both of them were really excited for the future of the club.
He said: “I wanted a brilliant manager for Billingham and I got one.”He had a great vision. He was so enthusiastic and got the very best out of his players. He was one of the lads.”He would have been the best manager that Billingham Town ever had, it’s just, unfortunately, we won’t get to see him manage a game.”