Football fans across Spain have come together to remember Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova, who lost his battle with cancer earlier today at the age of 45.

Within minutes of Vilanova's death being announced, the internet was indundated with messages of condolence, with fans eschewing traditional rivalries to express their shock, sorrow and sympathy in response to the tragic news.

Understandably, a huge volume of messages came from fans of Barcelona, for whom Vilanova won a league title as manager in 2012-13 and served with distinction as Pep Guardiola's assistant during the club's halcyon period.

One Blaugrana fan wrote: "I do not want Barca to win another title for 50 years, but this man has to stay alive."

Another reacted by writing: "Very sad for football. This guy was one of those responsible for the success of Guardiola's Barca. He gave us a league title as well. A big hug to the family and friends. What a tragedy."

Fans of Barca's arch-rivals Real Madrid also ventured onto forums and social media pages to send messages of support.

One wrote: "Awful news! As a Madrid fan, my deepest condolences to family and friends", while another said: "Love to your family, Tito I will care for you always."

In the comments section of Madrid-based newspaper Marca, one Los Blancos supporter penned the simple tribute: "DEP [rest in peace] Tito, have a safe journey to paradise."

A fan of Real's neighbours Atletico posted an equally heartfelt message on the Marca site, which read: "DEP Tito. Before you were a great, now you are a legend."

Other tributes included:

"Tito is the real ideologue of Guardiola's Barcelona and for that reason he must be remembered. A football legend without the need to presume or draw attention."

"RIP. He was an example in his battle against illness and desire to continue living... a sad day for football, no matter which team you support."

"A beautiful person has left us, as well as being a football great as Barcelona coach. Rest in peace Tito my friend. From Malaga a kiss and a big hug to your family."