Leicester City’s heartbroken stars joined the chorus of tributes for the club’s owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha following his death in a helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium.
Emotional keeper Kasper Schmeichel vowed to “honour” Srivaddhanaprabha after his death, thanking the man who “changed football forever”.
Leicester confirmed the passing of their 60-year-old chairman in a statement saying he was one of five people to die as his helicopter crashed and burst into flames following City’s draw with West Ham on Saturday. Srivaddhanaprabha bought Leicester in 2010 and made them the most unlikely of Premier League champions in 2016.
Schmeichel reportedly witnessed the crash and posted a message on social media expressing his shock.
“Dear Mr Chairman. I cannot believe this is happening. I am so totally devastated and heartbroken. I just cannot believe what I saw last night. It just doesn’t seem real,” he wrote.
“It is difficult to put into words how much you meant to this football club and to the city of Leicester. Never have I ever come across a man like you. So hard working, so passionate, so kind and so generous in the extreme.
“You changed football. Forever! You gave hope to everyone that the impossible was possible. You literally made my dreams come true.
‘We now have a responsibility as a club, as players and fans to honour you. From knowing you we do this by being the family you created.”
His Leicester teammates also posted messages paying tribute to the popular club owner.
Jamie Vardy called Srivaddhanaprabha a “legend.”
He said on Instagram: “Struggling to find the right words, but to me you are a legend, an incredible man who had the biggest heart, the soul of Leicester City Football Club. Thank you for everything you did for me, my family and our club. I will truly miss you, may you rest in peace.”
“Words can’t describe how I feel. A truly great, kind, loving man who will be missed so much by everyone. I will never forget the Chairman’s support, not only during my time @LCFC but also during the World Cup,” England defender Harry Maguire wrote on Twitter.
Fellow City defender and England left-back Ben Chilwell hailed “one of the best people you could wish to meet.”
Writing on Twitter, he said: “I can’t believe it. I am heartbroken to hear that no-one survived the crash yesterday. Making you happy made him happy, he was always smiling and laughing.
“What he did not just for this football club but for Leicester as a city is incredible! He has brought us all together. So now we must stay together as a city and achieve what he knew we could.’