Ray Kennedy: Former Arsenal and Liverpool great dies aged 70 after long battle with Parkinson's disease

Ray Kennedy, the former Arsenal and Liverpool midfielder, has died at the age of 70.

Ray Kennedy: Former Arsenal and Liverpool great dies aged 70 after long battle with Parkinson’s disease
© Getty Images raykennedy.jpg

During his time at Liverpool, Kennedy won three European Cups and five league titles, having joined the club from Arsenal in 1974.

He was part of the famous Gunners side that won the league an FA Cup double in 1971. Kennedy scored the winner away to bitter rivals Tottenham in a 1-0 victory on the last day of the season, as Arsenal won the title by just a single point.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1984, and seven years later a testimonial game between Liverpool and Arsenal took place.

Liverpool paid tribute to Kennedy with a statement on their website: “The thoughts of everybody at Liverpool FC are with Ray’s family and friends at this sad and difficult time.”

Arsenal posted on Twitter: “Everyone at Arsenal is greatly saddened to hear of the passing of Ray Kennedy.

“One of the giants of 71, Ray will be sorely missed by his friends, family and everybody at the club. Rest in peace, Ray.”

Liverpool’s Merseyside rivals Everton also offered their condolences, with the two teams set to contest the 239th derby on Wednesday night at Goodison Park.

The club said: “The thoughts of everyone at Everton Football Club are with the family and friends of Ray Kennedy following the very sad news of his passing.”

Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge paid tribute to Kennedy, tweeting: “Yet another magnificent Ex LFC star has passed away folks.

“Ray Kennedy what a player and lovely bloke who suffered so much with Parkinson’s disease for most of his life. He will definitely never walk alone. RIP Ray ynwa.”

Former Liverpool defender Phil Thompson tweeted: “More sad news with the passing of Ray, what a great player and such a wonderful team-mate RIP pal YNWA.”

Ronnie Whelan described his former team-mate as “an absolute legend at both Arsenal and Liverpool”, adding on Twitter: “Learned so much by watching him play. RIP Ray.”

Kennedy scored three goals for England, his first coming on his debut against Wales in March 1976.

A tweet from the national team’s account read: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ray Kennedy at the age of 70. Ray won 17 caps for the ThreeLions between 1976 and 1980, scoring three times.

“All of our thoughts go out to his family, friends and former clubs.”

Parkinson’s UK chief executive Caroline Rassell said in a statement: “Most young boys dream of becoming a footballer. Ray not only lived that dream but enjoyed incredible success doing so.

“Ray lived with Parkinson’s for a long time. He spoke honestly about the challenges he faced including dealing with some of the lesser known symptoms like hallucinations.

“Many people with the condition feel the need to hide their diagnosis, but Ray will have inspired so many people to talk openly about their own life with Parkinson’s. The part he played in raising awareness of the condition, like his football skills, will not be forgotten.

“Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”

Additional reporting by PA Sport.

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