chairman Bill Kenwright has died aged 78, the club have announced.
Kenwright was diagnosed with liver cancer in early August and underwent emergency surgery to remove a cancerous tumour around a eight weeks ago.
‘Everton Football Club is in mourning following the death of Chairman Bill Kenwright CBE, who passed away peacefully last night aged 78, surrounded by his family and loved ones,’ a statement from the club read on Tuesday.
‘Everton’s longest serving chairman for more than a century, Bill Kenwright led the Club through a period of unprecedented change in English football.
‘A lifelong Evertonian, he became a board member on October 23, 1989, and then on Boxing Day 1999 his True Blue Holdings consortium acquired the Club. Initially vice-chairman, he succeeded his close friend Sir Philip Carter as Chair in 2004.
‘In his 19 seasons as Chairman, the Club secured 12 top eight finishes, including a top four finish in 2005, a run to the 2009 FA Cup final and European qualification on 6 separate occasions.
‘The club has lost a chairman, a leader, a friend, and an inspiration. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Everton are with his partner Jenny Seagrove, his daughter Lucy Kenwright, grandchildren and everybody who knew and loved him.’
He passed away just a few days after Everton’s Merseyside derby defeat to local rivals Liverpool, who also paid tribute: ‘Rest in peace, Bill Kenwright. The thoughts of everyone at Liverpool FC are with Bill’s family, friends and everyone at Everton.’
Kenwright had not been in attendance at Goodison Park for many months due to police concerns over the safety of the board from Everton fans due to the club’s decline over the past few years.
Though the Toffees are set to undergo a change of ownership, Kenwright was due to continue in his role as chairman to help the club through the transitionary period.
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