Former Manchester City and Aston Villa striker Dalian Atkinson has died after he was Tasered by police.
The 48-year-old, who was named locally as Atkinson, died around 90 minutes after he was hit by a stun gun in Meadow Close in the Trench area of Telford, Shropshire, at around 1.30am on Monday.
A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “I had known him since he was a little boy, he was a famous footballer at one time. He was friendly, he had no trouble that I know of.”
West Mercia Police said officers were called amid concerns “for the safety of an individual” and deployed Taser.
Atkinson played for Manchester City on loan during the 1996-97 season, playing eight league games and scoring two goals.
Former team-mate Paul Dickov tweeted a tribute to Atkinson, saying: Tragic news about my old teammate Dalian Atkinson passing away, thoughts & prayers to all #ripdalian
Atkinson’s best years came at Aston Villa and in 1994 he scored in a 3-1 win over Manchester United in the League Cup final at Wembley.
He was also the first black player to ever play for Real Sociedad who he signed for in 1990.
One of Atkinson’s former clubs Ipswich Town paid tribute on its Twitter feed, saying: “Terribly sad news about our former striker. Our thoughts are with Dalian’s family and friends at this tragic time.”
Sheffield Wednesday said on the social media site: “The thoughts of everyone at Wednesday are with the friends and family of Dalian Atkinson this morning. RIP”.
Former team-mate Tony Daley, who played for Aston Villa at the same time as Atkinson, tweeted: “Devastating news…RIP Dalian” with an image of a broken heart.