Legendary football pundit, Match of the Day presenter and former Fulham Football Club player Jimmy Hill has died following a seven-year battle with Alzheimer's disease. Hill was a pioneer of the sport and also played for Brentford, before managing Coventry.
He presented the BBC's late night football show Match of the Day for more than 600 episodes and millions would regularly tune in to hear his take on the day's footballing events. During the 1980s the father of five was one of the most familiar faces on the UK's TV screens. Able to run with a joke he also became just as well known for his physical appearance and his protruding chin fast became his physical trademark as he was sent up by light entertainers including Bruce Forsyth and latterly comedian Phil Cornwell in the TV series Stella Street.
Fellow Match of the Day pundit Gary Lineker took to Twitter and said: "Deeply saddened to hear that Jimmy Hill has left us. A football man through and through who gave the game so much in so many ways #RIPJimmy."
Sky Sports presenter and former Stoke City player Chris Kamara also took to the social media platform and added: "Sad news, Jimmy Hill has passed away. Shared n office with Jimmy for 7 years when he did the Jimmy Hill Sunday Supplement at Sky. A true gent."
Hill had been diagnosed with the degenerative Alzheimer's in 2008 and had been living in a care home on the south coast of England for the past three years.
James William Thomas Hill was born in Balham and grew up a supporter of Crystal Palace. His first outing as a professional footballer was for Brentford before he was picked up by Fulham and whisked away to Craven Cottage in March, 1953. Playing as a winger, he made 276 appearances for the London club before retiring due to injury at the age of 33 in 1961.
In November 1961 he took the management reigns at Coventry City taking the ailing club from the bottom of the third division to the first division. Hill left Coventry when the club denied him a 10-year contract. He next turned up as head of sport at London Weekend Television where he introduced the viewing public to Dickie Davies, who became the front man of World of Sport. He also convinced Brian Moore to leave the BBC to helm The Big Match.
This was followed by a move to the BBC where he would become a familiar face on Match of the Day becoming a TV sporting icon. As a presenter or analyst, he worked on every major international championship from 1966-1998.
In 1999, Hill moved from the BBC to Sky Sports, where he featured on Jimmy Hill's Sunday Supplement, which was a weekly discussion show between Hill and three football journalists taking place over a Sunday breakfast. In 2007, he was replaced by his co-presenter Brian Woolnough with the programme renamed Sunday Supplement.
Hill married three times, having three children by his first wife, Gloria, and two by his second, Heather. In September 2013, it was revealed that he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2008. Hill had assigned power of attorney to his third wife Bryony, a solicitor in 2005.
In a statement, Hill's agent Jane Morgan, said: 'It is with great sadness that Bryony Hill and the children of Jimmy Hill have announced that Jimmy passed away peacefully today aged 87 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. Bryony was beside him."