Former Arsenal and Everton star Kevin Campbell dies aged 54

A goal machine, hero, and gentleman "adored by everyone" are among the heartfelt tributes paid following the death of former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell at the age of 54.

The player-turned-pundit was recently admitted to hospital with sepsis.

Campbell was a title winner with the Gunners and a hero at Goodison Park after saving the Toffees from relegation in 1999.

Arsenal said in a statement: "We are devastated to learn that our former striker Kevin Campbell has died after a short illness.

"Kevin was adored by everyone at the club. All of us are thinking of his friends and family at this difficult time."

Everton said in a statement: "Everyone at Everton is deeply saddened by the death of our former striker Kevin Campbell at the age of just 54.

"Not just a true Goodison Park hero and icon of the English game, but an incredible person as well - as anyone who ever met him will know.

"RIP, Super Kev."

Born in Lambeth in February 1970, Campbell began his career at Arsenal and broke into the first-team at Highbury in 1988 after a prolific junior scoring record.

He went on to score 59 goals in 224 games for the club.

Alongside the 1990-91 league title, he also won the FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup.

After a spell at Nottingham Forest he had a one-season stop at Turkish side Trabzonspor, before moving to Everton in 1999 where he is remembered for his nine goals in five games which saved the club from relegation.

Fans also treasure his match-winning strike in a famous Merseyside derby at Anfield shortly after joining the side.

It earned Everton a famous victory - something the Toffees would not be able to replicate at the home of their city rival's ground for another 22 years.

He said of the goal: "It was at the Kop End and my view, which will live with me until the day I die, is the Blues in the Kop going crazy.

"That was, and still is, one of my favourite memories in football."

One of his proudest was becoming the first black captain of Everton, under manager Walter Smith, for the 2001-02 season.

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He stayed at Everton until 2005, where he remains the club's fifth-highest Premier League goal-scorer, and finished his career with spells at West Brom and Cardiff.

Campbell was also notably the answer to a famous football trivia question: "Who has scored the most goals in the Premier League without earning a senior cap for his country?"

Despite his lack of international recognition, Campbell bore no ill-feeling.

He once said: "I was not disappointed at all to not play for England. There were a lot of good players in that era so it was difficult to get into the team."

Tributes paid

Former Arsenal teammate and captain Tony Adams wrote on the X social media platform: "Super Kev: a goal machine, a giant of a man, with an even bigger heart.

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

Fellow former Gunner Ian Wright posted on X a series of pictures of himself together with Campbell accompanied by a series of crying emojis.

Arsenal fan and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer wrote: "Deeply saddened to hear about the death of Kevin Campbell.

"I had the privilege of watching him play for Arsenal in the early 90s - a cult hero at Highbury, loved by so many in football and beyond. My thoughts are with his friends and family."

The official England X account posted: "We are devastated to learn that Kevin Campbell has passed away aged 54.

"Kevin won four caps for our under-21s and represented our B team in the early 1990s. Our thoughts are with Kevin's family, friends and loved ones."

Forest wrote on X: "Everyone at Nottingham Forest is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Kevin Campbell.

"Kevin spent three seasons at #NFFC and was part of the side which earned promotion from the First Division as champions in 1998.

"Our thoughts are with his friends and family during this difficult time."

The Premier League said: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Kevin Campbell, the former Arsenal, Nott'm Forest, Everton and West Brom striker

"Our thoughts and condolences are with Kevin's family, friends and those associated with the clubs he played for."

Campbell worked in the media after his playing career and fellow pundit Tony Cottee, another former Everton striker, wrote on X: "I am so devastated to hear the news of the passing of Kevin Campbell.

"The nicest man you could wish to meet and a fantastic player. Thoughts to his friends and family. RIP Kev."

Former England winger Shaun Wright-Phillips said: "Really gutted to hear the sad news of Kevin Campbell passing.

"A fantastic goalscorer, but more importantly an even better human. What a gentleman. Thinking of Kevin's friends and family today, you will be missed Kev. RIP."