Gary Speed's family have released a statement as tributes continue to flow following the Wales manager's death on Sunday.

A host of players, managers, fans and pundits alike have spoken of their love and admiration for Speed, who played for Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United as well as the Wales national team in his illustrious career.

Speed's agent Hayden Evans, who was a close friend of the former footballer and best man at his wedding, read the statement outside the family's home.

"Gary's family would sincerely like to thank all the people that have sent messages of condolence and tributes in what is a very difficult time," he said.

"We have been overwhelmed by the support and it really has helped.

"We would ask that the family are now given the respect of some privacy to just grieve on their own."

Close friend Robbie Savage left tributes for Speed on his twitter account, with the former footballer turned pundit saying: "The world has lost a great man in Gary Speed. I'm devastated spoke to him yesterday morning why ! Why. Why !! I'll miss him so much.

"He came to watch Strictly [Come Dancing] 3/4 weeks ago. I high fived him in the front row he loved the show, he loved life he loved his family ! Devastated.

"He was upbeat on phone yesterday we were laughing together, talking football and dancing he was a great teammate and a great friend. #RIP."

Ryan Giggs also expressed his devastation at the news, telling the official Manchester United website: "Gary Speed was one of the nicest men in football and someone I am honoured to call a team-mate and friend.

"Words cannot begin to describe how sad I feel at hearing this awful news. It goes without saying my thoughts are with his family at this tremendously sad time."

Alex McLeish, who led what was supposed to be a minute's silence yesterday as Aston Villa took on Swansea, but turned into cheering and chanting Speed's name, admitted his blood ran cold when he heard the news.

"Shay Given gave me the terrible news 10 minutes before my team talk and my blood ran cold. It was just unbelievable," he recalled.

"Shay was still getting his head around it because he had been told earlier in the day at the hotel.

"I think it would have been even more devastating for him if he had heard it in a whisper in the stadium itself when the story started to reverberate around the corridors and stands.

"Shay told James Collins and the domino effect meant they all started to feel it as they realised they had lost such a great guy.

"I was worried about Shay. He was shaking, he was upset at the minute's silence which turned into applause and I was really worried about losing him.

"James Collins was as white as a sheet and Jermaine Jenas played with Gary at Newcastle as his midfield partner so these guys were all extremely distraught."