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Football Legend Jimmy Hill Has Died, Aged 87

The former Match of the Day presenter had been suffering from Alzheimer's since 2008.

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"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," his agent Jane Morgan said in a statement. "Bryony was beside him."

Hill became a widely celebrated figure in British football after a career on the pitch and on television screens that spanned four decades.

As presenter of Match of the Day, Hill made over 600 appearances on the BBC's flagship football programme, the broadcaster said.

After playing as a forward for Brentford and then Fulham in 1953, Hill scored more than 50 goals in nearly 300 games.

He became manager of Coventry in 1961 before diverting his career to television in 1967 as head of sport for ITV.

Six years later he became a presenter of Match of the Day until 1989.

"For generations of fans Jimmy Hill was an authoritative voice as both a presenter and analyst," BBC director general Tony Hall said in a statement.

"He was committed to innovation in every aspect of the game, including broadcasting and always believed supporters came first. His influence lives on in the programmes we enjoy today."

BBC director of sports Barbara Slater called Hill "an iconic and unique figure".

"He was one of the great innovators and a huge talent, a man ahead of his time with a personality that dominated his era both in football and broadcasting," she added.

"Jimmy was also a dear friend and colleague to many at the BBC and will be greatly missed."

Players for Coventry FC paid tribute to the club's former-forward ahead of Saturday's match, while fans cheered in the 87th minute to mark Hill's age.

Coventry City FC pay tribute to their former chairman Jimmy Hill, who has died at the age of 87 https://t.co/2vRtwHC9Ns

Current Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker led tributes to the sporting hero on twitter.

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

He was a "football man through and through," Lineker told the BBC shortly after the announcement of Hill's death.

He highlighted ways Hill had made a huge impact on football, including introducing three points for a win, electronic scoreboards at football matches and the first all-seater stadium.

"Football is more the better for Jimmy Hill," Lineker concluded.

Very sad news about Jimmy Hill. Footballers and football have so much to thank him for. A man who loved the game. #RIP #JimmyHill

JIMMY HILL: Everyone at #WestHam has been saddened by the death of football pioneer Jimmy Hill at the age of 87 #RIP

Our condolences go to the family of former player, manager and broadcaster Jimmy Hill, who passed away today. #NUFC

Hill's former football clubs shared pictures of him in tribute.

Terribly sad news just reaching us. Former Fulham player and chairman Jimmy Hill has passed away.

Thank you for everything Jimmy, without you none of this would have been possible. https://t.co/P1poVlw0L2 #RIPJimmy

"He may have single-handedly changed football," BBC Radio 4 said.

Commentator Jimmy Hill has died, aged 87. He may have single-handedly changed world football https://t.co/xPvRtyYMIP

We are saddened to hear the news about Jimmy Hill, a true footballing legend. RIP Jimmy.

Current players also paid tribute.

RIP Jimmy Hill. All round football man.

Television presenter Danny Baker called him a "gifted" player and a "masterful" presenter.

RIP Jimmy Hill. For so long at the very heart of football. Gifted, militant player. Ground breaking, masterful TV presenter.

Former-footballer turned Sky Sports News presenter Chris Kamara called Hill a "true gent" and Football Focus presenter Dan Walker praised his "drive to innovate".

Sad news, Jimmy Hill has passed away.Shared an office with Jimmy for 7years when he did the Jimmy Hill Sunday Supplement at Sky a true gent

Very sad to hear about #JimmyHill. He did everything in the game. Much of what we take for granted came from his drive to innovate #RIP

Hill's influence was also felt outside of football.

#Jimmy Hill RIP lovely man fine footballer 1 of the original football pundits who stood his ground & opinions Match of the Day & Big Match

Hill had been living in a care home in Sussex after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2008.

A service for friends, family and former colleagues will be held in the New Year, Hills agent said, and he will be cremated after a private ceremony.

He leaves behind a wife and five children from two previous marriages.

Laura Silver is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Laura Silver at laura.silver@buzzfeed.com.

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