Former Premier League Star Kevin Campbell Dies at 54

CNN Newsource
By CNN Newsource
June 15, 2024Sports News
Former Premier League Star Kevin Campbell Dies at 54
Kevin Campbell speaks for Everton TV prior to the Premier League match between Everton and West Bromwich Albion at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, on Sept. 19, 2020. (Nick Potts-Pool/Getty Images)

Former Arsenal player Kevin Campbell has died aged 54 after a “short illness,” the Premier League club announced on Saturday.

Mr. Campbell played 228 times for Arsenal in the 1980s and 1990s, winning the English First Division title (the predecessor to the Premier League), the FA Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup with the North London club.

He later moved to Nottingham Forest and Everton, where he became a fan favorite, especially for his remarkable record of scoring nine goals in five games to help ensure the Toffees avoided relegation from the Premier League in the 1998–1999 season.

Tributes have poured in from former teammates, with Wayne Rooney—who played with Mr. Campbell at Everton—saying he was “devastated to hear the news.”

“Kev was a great teammate but more importantly a brilliant person who helped me a lot in my early years,” the former England and Manchester United striker said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

He had spells at West Bromwich Albion and Cardiff City before retiring from soccer in 2007 and embarking on a media career as a pundit.

Born in London, Mr. Campbell grew up supporting Arsenal and joined the club’s academy aged 15 where his knack for goalscoring was quickly established.

He later formed a close partnership with fellow forward Ian Wright and the two men proved integral to Arsenal’s historic 1992–1993 season in which it became the first club to win the FA Cup and League Cup double.

Mr. Wright on Saturday posted several pictures on social media of the two of them.

Such was Mr. Campbell’s popularity at Arsenal that “he remained a dear and cherished friend to many at the club, always maintaining the close links that began in his very early days at Highbury,” the Gunners said in a statement.

Similarly at Everton, he became “one of the most popular men to ever wear the royal blue jersey,” the club said in a statement.

Meanwhile, former Arsenal captain Tony Adams said on X: “Super Kev: a goal machine, a giant of a man, with an even bigger heart.

“An intensely private and truly wonderful human being. I’m devastated for his loved ones, and all of us. Love you Super Kev, Skipper.”

Mr. Campbell’s 24-year-old son Tyrese thanked those paying tribute for “the outpouring of love” that had followed his father’s death.

“The pain of this is indescribable and as a son you look at your dad as invincible. He is my idol, the one who I wanted to be when I grew up,” he said on Instagram Stories.

“He was the life and soul of every party and room he blessed, a one-in-a-million person that was loved by everyone. A special, special person. I’ll miss you Dad.”

The CNN Wire contributed to this report.