The American soccer community has joined in the tributes arriving from around the world for 42-year-old Wales manager Gary Speed, who was found dead in his home in England on Sunday morning.
"I think he was an amazing, talented player, a player that had such a glittering career and just began a great career in management as well," LA Galaxy star David Beckham said on Monday at a press conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, where the defending MLS Cup champions are opening a Pacific Rim postseason tour.
"On behalf of myself, the players, the manager and everybody at the Galaxy, we'd like to send our love and thoughts to his wife, his children and his family," Beckham added. "It is a sad time to lose a man like this."
Beckham’s English compatriot, FOX Soccer analyst Warren Barton, played with Speed at Newcastle United and revealed that the two shared a conversation as recently as last Tuesday.
“Today was a sad day for football worldwide,” Barton penned in a column on FoxSoccer.com. “To say it was a shock to learn about Gary Speed, a good friend of mine and of my family, is an understatement.”
Police in Cheshire, England, confirmed that the former EPL midfielder hung himself in his garage in an apparent suicide.
“I cannot help but think that, whatever he was going through, if he only knew that there were hundreds if not thousands of people who were there for him, maybe this would not have happened,” Barton wrote. “He was genuinely loved by all of us, and this is a tragedy.”
New York Red Bulls midfielder Carl Robinson, who played with Speed on the Wales national team, reacted within hours of the news on Twitter.
“Very sad day for all," Robinson tweeted. “Huge loss. My thoughts go out to Gary’s family. He will always be remembered and never forgotten. … Still can't comprehend what has happened. Lost a true footballing pro today. A great guy and friend to all.”