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Wales and the world mourn Gary Speed

Welsh football was in mourning after the sudden death of the national team manager Gary Speed. Speed, who was just 42, died on November 27. The Welsh FA said that it appeared he had taken his own life.

As a player, Speed won a league champions’ medal with Leeds United and played in 535 Premier League matches. He represented Wales on 85 occasions. As manager of Wales he was presiding over a run of excellent form that made Welsh players and fans optimistic about their World Cup qualifying group chances.

Among shocked players paying tribute were Robbie Savage, a former Wales team-mate. "The world has lost a great man in Gary Speed,” Savage said, on Radio 5 Live. “He was a larger-than-life character. I loved him as a friend. He was a great team-mate and a great friend."

Manchester United striker Michael Owen, who was a neighbour of Speed's, said, "Just cannot believe the news regarding Gary Speed. We waved at each other a couple of days ago dropping our kids off at school. I'm numb. He has died aged 42. So sad."

Howard Wilkinson, Speed's manager at Leeds said, "He was a star in the true sense. For him, at 42, to leave us is such a tragic loss. He had a life of success to look forward to I'm sure."

Steven Taylor of Newcastle called Speed "the best professional in football. He had that aura about him. He always had time for the young lads and helped them feel good about themselves."

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