The death of former Manchester United goalkeeper and one of the survivors of the 1958 Munich air disaster, Harry Gregg, has been announced. According to a statement from his foundation on Monday, Gregg died at the age of 87.
It added that the Northern Ireland legend passed away in a hospital in England surrounded by his family. The statement noted that details of his funeral arrangement will be revealed soon.
The statement read: “It is with great sorrow that we inform of the death of Manchester United and Northern Ireland legend Harry Gregg, OBE.
“Harry passed away peacefully in hospital surrounded by his loving family.
“The Gregg family would like to thank the medical staff at Causeway Hospital for their wonderful dedication to Harry over his last few weeks.
“To everyone who has called, visited or sent well-wishes we thank you for the love and respect shown to Harry and the family.
“Details of his funeral arrangement will be issued in the next few days. We would ask that the privacy of the family is respected at this difficult time.
“Never to be forgotten!”
The former goalkeeper was often referred to as a hero of the 1958 Munich air disaster that claimed 23 lives, including eight members of the ‘Busby Babes’ team. He was termed a hero because he survived the crash and twice returned to the wreckage to save his team-mates such as Sir Bobby Charlton and Denis Viollet, amongst others.
Gregg started his footballing career with Coleraine in his country Northern Ireland, before playing for Doncaster Rovers for five years, making 99 appearances. He later joined United and featured 247 times between 1957-66.
He also earned 25 senior international caps for Northern Ireland and was voted the best goalkeeper at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, just four months after the Munich air disaster. Gregg later played for Stoke City and took charge of Shrewsbury Town, Swansea City, Crewe Alexandra and Carlisle United during a managerial career that spanned two decades.
United and Doncaster also confirmed his death on their twitter handles on Monday, praying for the former player’s family and friends.
“It is with deepest sadness that we have learned of the passing of former player Harry Gregg OBE.
“The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the club go out to Harry’s family and friends,” United tweeted.
Doncaster said: “The thoughts of everyone at #DRFC are with the friends and family of Harry Gregg, who made 99 appearances for Rovers before being signed for Manchester United by Matt Busby in 1957 and becoming a hero of Munich. RIP, Harry.”