Former Scotland and Manchester United defender Gordon McQueen has been diagnosed with vascular dementia.
The 68-year-old started his career at St Mirren before moving to Leeds in 1972, winning the First Division twice and reaching the 1975 European Cup final.
He went on to enjoy a successful stint at Manchester United, while also represented Scotland on 30 occasions.
A statement released by his wife Yvonne and children Hayley, Anna and Edward read: “In January, Gordon McQueen, our dad, was formally diagnosed with vascular dementia.
“As a family we felt it was important to let people know, particularly if raising awareness can help others in similar situations.
“Whilst as a family we’ve found it hard to come to terms with the changes in dad, he has no regrets about his career and has lived life to the full.
“”He had unforgettable experiences in his playing days with Scotland, Manchester United and Leeds United, and also took so much from his coaching and TV work in more recent times.
“Football has allowed him to travel the world and experience things he could only have dreamed of.
“But he wants other footballers of today’s generation to know there may be risks with persistent heading of the ball.
“Dad scored some important goals in his career and memorable headers but used to stay back in training, heading the ball to the goalkeeper for practice over and over.
“He does wonder if this has been a factor in his dementia as his symptoms appeared in his mid-60s.
“The last year in and out of lockdown has been tough as dad is such a sociable person and thrives off company.
“Social interaction is key for someone with dementia and he has been deprived of this for so long. He is fully aware of his friends and family still and his memory of all things football is sharp, but his cognitive functions are not the same.
“We don’t want people to be surprised by his condition or continue to ask him for media interviews or autographs which he is not able to do any more.
“Whilst he is looking forward to seeing people again after lockdown and getting the social aspect of life back, we know people will see a big difference in his health so wanted to be transparent.
“We thank everyone in advance for their understanding and hope sharing this news will help dad to face the future in a positive way.”
Heartbreaking not to be spending precious time with dad of late but trying to stay positive & also raise awareness about vascular dementia as a family. It’s a cruel disease but had plenty help recently from both @PFA & @FA 💔Thank you for the messages of support on here already https://t.co/fPhVEXJN0b pic.twitter.com/lmV1TGZknG
— HAYLEY MCQUEEN (@HayleyMcQueen) February 23, 2021
McQueen lost his former Leeds team-mate Jack Charlton last year. The England legend had dementia and it was confirmed in recent months that his brother and Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton has been diagnosed with the disease.
We send our best regards to McQueen and his family.