Former Manchester City and England midfielder Colin Bell has died at the age of 74, the club have announced.
Bell made 492 appearances and scored 152 goals for City during his 13-year stay after joining from Bury in 1966.
A club statement read: “Colin passed away peacefully this afternoon after a short, non-Covid related illness, aged 74. He leaves behind wife Marie, children Jon and Dawn and grandchildren, Luke, Mark, Isla and Jack.”
Bell earned the nickname ‘The King of the Kippax’ after one of the terraces at their former Maine Road home, and has a stand named after him at the Etihad Stadium after a fans vote.
City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said in a statement on the club website: “Colin Bell will always be remembered as one of Manchester City’s greatest players and the very sad news today of his passing will affect everybody connected to our club.
“I am fortunate to be able to speak regularly to his former manager and team-mates, and it’s clear to me that Colin was a player held in the highest regard by all those who had the privilege of playing alongside him or seeing him play.
“The passage of time does little to erase the memories of his genius. The fact that we have a stand at the Etihad Stadium named after Colin speaks volumes about the importance of his contribution to this club.”
Former City forward Paul Dickov wrote on Twitter: “Devastated to hear of passing of Colin Bell…One of the greatest if not THE greatest player to ever wear the City shirt & more than anything the nicest & most humble man you could ever meet. Thoughts, love & prayers to all the Bell family. RIP Legend.”
A lovely, humble man
City team-mate Mike Summerbee paid tribute to “a lovely, humble man”.
Summerbee said on the club’s official website: “He was a huge star for Manchester City, but you would never have known it.
“He was quiet, unassuming and I always believe he never knew how good he actually was. He was just the greatest footballer we have ever had.
“Kevin De Bruyne reminds me a lot of Colin in the way he plays and the way he is as a person.”
Former England international Summerbee added: “He was adored by the City fans and for our supporters to say he is the best they have ever seen, you don’t get a better compliment than that, do you?
“He was very special and he will be very sadly missed.”
Gary Lineker said on Twitter: “Saddened to hear that Colin Bell has passed away. One of my favourite players when I was growing up. Terrific box to box midfielder. A real gem for @ManCity and @England. #RIPColin.”