Former Wales goalkeeper Dai Davies has died at the age of 72.
Davies played for Swansea, Everton, Wrexham and Tranmere during his career as well as earning 52 caps for his national side in a 17-year career that began in 1969.
He later became a forthright and popular media pundit.
Davies had been receiving treatment for pancreatic cancer at Wrexham’s Nightingale House Hospice at the time of his death.
A statement from his family, issued by Everton, read: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of William David Davies (better known as Dai) today, Wednesday 10 February 2021. He died peacefully at home.
“He was much loved by Judy, Bethan, Gareth, Rhian, Emma, Sally, Kate and his 12 grandchildren. He will live on in the memories we, and many others, hold dear.”
His wife Judy added: “Dai was a great goalkeeper but also a wonderful human being with a beautiful soul. Ever the gentleman, Dai had time for everyone and was hugely respected and much loved by so many.”
Davies, who was born in the Welsh mining village of Glanamman, began his career with Swansea but made only nine appearances before being snapped up by First Division champions Everton in 1970.
He made 94 appearances for the Toffees over seven years before moving to Third Division Wrexham, with whom he won promotion to the second tier in 1978.
After four years at the Racecourse Ground he returned to Swansea, helping them finish sixth in their first season of top-flight football under John Toshack in 1982. He then had a stint as player-coach at Tranmere before hanging up his gloves, although he was later tempted out of retirement for further spells with Bangor City and Wrexham.
Davies earned his first cap for Wales against Hungary in 1975 and represented his country for seven years.
The Football Association of Wales said: “The FAW are saddened to hear about the passing of former @Cymru goalkeeper Dai Davies. The thoughts of everyone at the FAW are with Dai’s family and friends.”
Neville Southall, another former Everton keeper who succeeded Davies as Wales number one, tweeted: “RIP Dai Davies. My friend, a gentleman, an inspiration guy and a proper welsh man, a great mentor And a top keeper.”
Further tributes were made by Davies’ former clubs and other figures within the game.
Swansea said Davies was a “popular and much-loved figure at the Swans and within Welsh football” in their tribute while Wrexham hailed him as a “legendary goalkeeper” and a “hugely popular figure”.
Everton issued their own statement referring to the “warm and inspirational” Davies, “a fine goalkeeper and enormously popular man”.
Former Wales striker John Hartson, who worked alongside Davies in the media, tweeted his condolences.
Hartson wrote: “Thoughts are with Dai Davies, his family and friends.. former Wales, Swansea, Everton, Tranmere goalkeeper.. I knew Dai very well he was always wanting to help you a real gentleman.. had some great times alongside Dai.”