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Sports Minister Kate Hoey
"He was a lovely, lovely lad"
 real 14k

Former team-mate Ian Wright and Mark Bright
pay tribute to 'Rocky'
 real 14k

Arsenal's Liam Brady
"It's tragic one so young has been taken away"
 real 14k

BBC Sport's Mike Ingham
"Rocastle was the foundation of one of Arsenal's greatest ever sides"
 real 14k

Former Arsenal team-mate Paul Davis
"Our best wishes go out to his family"
 real 14k

Saturday, 31 March, 2001, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Football mourns Rocastle's death
David Rocastle, second from right, celebrates 1991 League success
Rocastle, (second from right) celebrates in 1991
Former Arsenal midfielder David Rocastle has lost his battle against cancer at the age of 33.

Rocastle, capped by England 14 times, had been diagnosed as suffering from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

He had been undergoing a course of chemotherapy to battle against a cancer which attacks the immune system.

Rocastle's agent Jerome Anderson said: "It is with deep regret that I have to announce the sad passing of this young man in the early hours of Saturday morning.

I think I speak for everyone in football by saying he'll be sorely missed
Mark Bright
"He fought a very brave battle against non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which is a form of cancer.

"He was much loved and respected throughout the football world and will be fondly remembered by everyone who knew him."

Rocastle's lifelong friend Paul Davis paid tribute to his former Arsenal team-mate.

"I've known Dave since he was 12 or 13," said Davis. "I saw him come up into the Arsenal team; we grew up in the same area, so I knew Dave as a youngster.

"He was a bubbly guy. There were no airs and graces about him; he would speak to everyone the same.

"He was a fantastic guy to have known, and I just feel so sorry for his wife and kids."

He added: "He was an adventurous player, and the fans absolutely loved him.

David Rocastle
Rocastle won 14 England caps

"It's only over the last few months when people have known he's been ill that people would constantly stop me in the street to ask me how he was, and whether they would ever see him again.

"It's only then that I realised what he meant to people. There's not many people who have the privilege of having that respect from the fans at Arsenal."

A grief-stricken Ian Wright, speaking on the BBC Radio 5 Live show he co-hosts with Mark Bright, referred to Rocastle as "a best mate and team-mate" before breaking down.

And Bright added: "Our heart goes out to his wife and family. It's a massive blow for Ian and myself."

Lee Chapman, a team-mate of Rocastle's at Leeds said: "He was a strong character on the pitch and in the dressing room. Away from the club he was a wonderful person to be around.

"It's a tragic waste of life and it just makes you realise that none of us knows what is going to happen.

"David was a wonderful talent.

"He came to Leeds and showed glimpses of his best form, but I'm sure he'll be best remembered for his days at Arsenal.

And he added: "He had a wonderful career, but I thought he had the potential to be one of the greats who might have played 70 or 80 times for England."

Former Arsenal defender Frank McLintock said: "David could have been an outstanding player for England.

"He was a really top talent who had just about everything - he had all-round ability."

Rocastle helped Arsenal to the League title in 1989 and 1991 after picking up a Milk Cup winners' medal in 1987 with the London club.

It's too tragic for words to die at such a young age
Gordon Taylor of the PFA
He also had spells at Manchester City, Leeds and Chelsea and had a loan period at Norwich.

Rocastle brought the curtain down on his professional career when at Hull City in 1997.

Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, was also shocked by the news.

"It only seems two minutes since he was playing for Arsenal.

"It's too tragic for words to die at such a young age. It's unbelievable and you just don't expect that sort of thing to happen to someone of his age.

"The very deepest sympathies of the PFA go out to his wife and children."

See also:

31 Mar 01 |  Photo Galleries
Memories of David Rocastle
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