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DONS HERO TRAGEDY

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ABERDEEN legend Neale Cooper has died at the age of 54 after suffering injuries after a fall.

The former Dons and Rangers midfielder passed away last night at the city’s Royal Infirmary, where he was being treated after being reportedly found at the bottom of a flight of stairs at a block of flats.

Cooper, who was part of Alex Ferguson’s 1983 European Cup-Winners’ Cup-winning side, won a series of honours while at Pittodrie, including two league titles.

Aberdeen issued a statement which read: “The club is deeply shocked and saddened to hear Neale Cooper has tragically passed away.

“The thoughts of everybody at Aberdeen FC are with his family and friends at this very sad time.”

Scotland manager Alex McLeish, a former Dons colleague, said: “I am devastated to hear the terrible news.

“Neale and I grew up together and I have known him since he was 14 years old. He was a talented team-mate and a good friend – someone you could always count on, both on and off the park.

“It was a privilege to have played alongside him and an even greater privilege to have counted him as one of my friends. My thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.”

Former international boss Craig Brown added his tribute to Cooper, who also played for Aston Villa, Reading, Dunfermline and Ross County.

He said: “I don’t think anybody can appreciate the fact that this has happened because he felt like an indestructible guy, wonderfully popular in Aberdeen and beyond.

“I saw him for the last seven or eight years at every home match. Very loyal, very enthusiastic and, quite frankly, I can’t believe this has happened.”

Police Scotland North East have confirmed they are looking into the circumstances surrounding Cooper’s fall.

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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