Page last updated at 14:18 GMT, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 15:18 UK

George Best's father dies aged 88

Dickie Best
Dickie Best beside a mural of his son George

The father of Northern Ireland and Manchester United football legend George Best has died at the age of 88.

Dickie Best had been in hospital for the past four weeks.

His family, who were with him when he passed away at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald, have described him as "irreplaceable".

"Over the years, as everyone knows, Dad had his sorrows to bear but he faced them always with courage and dignity," a family statement said.

"He was a man who took great joy and pride in his family.

"He was an irreplaceable father whose bravery, integrity, wisdom and above all love shaped our lives."

The MP for East Belfast, where Mr Best lived in the Cregagh estate, Peter Robinson, said: "The manner in which Mr Best coped with the death of his legendary son, George, in 2005, was an inspiration to us all."

The lord mayor of Belfast, Councillor Jim Rodgers, described Mr Best as "one of life's true gentlemen".

George Best died in 2005 aged 59 after a long battle with alcoholism.




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