“Manchester United is in mourning following the passing of Sir Bobby Charlton, one of the greatest and most beloved players in the history of our club,” the Premier League team said in a statement.
The cause of death remained a mystery. Geoff Hurst is currently the only surviving member of the 1966 England side that won the World Cup, following the death of Charlton.
Charlton survived the 1958 Munich air disaster, in which eight of his teammates perished when a British European Airways flight carrying the Manchester United team crashed on its third attempt at takeoff.
Charlton is recognized as a “giant of the game” who inspired supporters and players worldwide. He scored two goals in the match and was a key player in helping Manchester United win the European Cup in 1968.
“Sir Bobby was a hero to millions, not just in Manchester, or the United Kingdom, but wherever football is played around the world,” the club said.
The Premier League said they were “deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Sir Bobby Charlton, one of the greatest players in English football history. Our thoughts and sincere condolences go to Sir Bobby’s family and friends, and to all at Manchester United.”
After enrolling in Manchester United’s youth program as a youngster, Charlton went on to play for the team for 17 years. He scored 249 goals in 758 appearances while he was a member of the team, winning three league titles, the FA Cup, and the European Cup.
Charlton was involved with Manchester United after his playing career ended, spending 39 years as the team’s director.
“His unparalleled record of achievement, character and service will be forever etched in the history of Manchester United and English football,” the statement said.
Geoff Hurst, Charlton’s World Cup teammate, remembered the late player, writing on social media that he was “1 of the true Greats.”
“We will never forget him & nor will all of football,” Hurst said. “A great colleague & friend he will be sorely missed by all of the country beyond sport alone.”
Soccer star David Beckham also took to Instagram to mourn the loss of Charlton, writing about the impact the player had on his own iconic career with Manchester United. Beckham’s parents named him after Charlton, giving him the middle name “Robert” as a tribute to the great athlete.
“It all began with Sir Bobby❤️Sir Bobby was the reason I had the opportunity to play for Manchester United,” Beckham shared alongside a photo of his younger self with Charlton.
“A true gentleman , family man and truly a national hero,” Beckham continued. “Today isn’t just a sad day for Manchester United & England, it’s a sad day for football and everything that Sir Bobby represented.”
When Gareth Southgate’s team plays Malta on November 17, there will be a thorough tribute given to Charlton, the English Football Association has stated.