Former Portsmouth goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek has died following a cardiac arrest.
The 47-year-old had been in an induced coma in the Czech Republic since collapsing while out jogging on December 20.
His agent, Steve Wraith, said in a statement: “It is with deep sadness that I have to announce the passing of former player Pavel Srnicek.”
Srnicek made 150 appearances for Newcastle between 1991 and 1998 and went on to have spells with Sheffield Wednesday, Portsmouth and West Ham before returning to St James’ Park in 2006.
His release the following year brought an end to his playing career but he remained in the game and was working as goalkeeping coach at Sparta Prague when he collapsed.
The statement continued: “Pavel suffered a cardiac arrest before the Christmas period in his home country and had been in an induced coma in hospital with his close family around his bedside.
“Despite the best medical attention the final brain scans on Monday showed irreversible damage and the decision had to be taken to switch off the life support machine. Pav passed away on the afternoon of Tuesday, December 29 2015 with his family by his side.
“Pavel, the goalkeeping coach at Sparta Prague, had recently been on a whistle-stop tour of Tyneside to promote his autobiography, ‘Pavel Is A Geordie’, something that he was very proud of.
“My final conversation with him was about getting the entertainers team back together one more time for charity next year as it will be 20 years since that Newcastle team almost won the Premier League.
“We will make that happen and celebrate this great man’s life together.”
Tributes quickly began to pour in for Srnicek, one of Newcastle’s best loved recent characters.
Alan Shearer wrote on Twitter: “So very, very sad to lose my friend and former teammate @PavelSrnicekUK My thoughts are with his family at this awful time. #NUFC #RIPPavel”
Fellow goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel said: “It is with incredible sadness that I’ve have learned that Pavel Srnicek has died. A gentleman and a great sportsman. RIP my friend”
Newcastle fans sang their support for Srnicek during the Boxing Day clash with Everton at the request of the Czech’s family.
The club announced the news on their Twitter feed, saying: “It is with immense sadness that we confirm the passing of former #NUFC goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek today.
“Our deepest condolences go to Pavel’s family, many friends, former colleagues and supporters at this very difficult time.”
Long-serving former Toon keeper Steve Harper was a team-mate of Srnicek and he wrote: “A truly beautiful soul has left this world far too early!! Thank you so much for everything you did for me Pav.”
Srnicek was born in Ostrava, beginning his senior career with Banik Ostrava, and he was capped 49 times by the Czech Republic.
In a tribute to Srnicek on their website, Sparta Prague said: “We will never forget you, Pavel!”