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Family statement tells of pain and grief since 'darkest day'

Gary Speed's family yesterday described his death as one of the darkest days of their lives.

Here is the family statement: "Gary's death and the manner of it, made Sunday 27th November 2011 the worst day of our lives. Throughout the time since, there have been very dark moments, which we have all had to find our own different ways to endure.

"Now, we have to adapt to the future without a husband, a father, a brother and a son; but Gary's memory shines brightly in our thoughts and we will forever remember the wonderful times we shared with him and the deep love and affection he offered within our close-knit family.

"Thankfully, out of tragedy some good often emerges, and we feel blessed to have such true friends who are helping each of us come to terms with our bereavement.

"Gary's funeral was an occasion of great sadness and grief for everyone concerned but it was also a day where we were able to say farewell to him in our own private way.

"We wish to reiterate our deep appreciation for the very generous and clearly sincere accolades paid to Gary and his memory by the public and the media. We remain especially grateful for the sympathetic way that the media has respected the family's privacy.

"The help and encouragement we have received from so many special individuals and organisations leading up to the inquest has been breathtaking and we must recognise publicly some of those concerned.

"The thoughtful way we have been treated by the Cheshire constabulary, which has been represented here by Detective Inspector Peter Lawless.

"Finally, our thanks go to the FA of Wales which has arranged the Gary Speed Memorial Match against Costa Rica at the Cardiff City Stadium on Wednesday February 29. This will give everyone whose lives were touched and enriched by Gary's achievements the opportunity to attend, celebrate his life and pay their final respects. We look forward to seeing you there."