West Ham’s co-chairman David Gold has died at the age of 86 following a short illness, the Premier League club announced on Wednesday.
Gold was a lifelong Hammer, having grown up opposite the club’s former Boleyn Ground Upton home in east London before playing for West Ham’s boys’ team as a teenager.
In January 2010 he fulfilled a dream by becoming co-chairman of West Ham.
West Ham are set to be away to Leeds later Wednesday, with tributes to Gold expected during the course of the match.
Gold died with his daughters, Jacqueline and Vanessa, and his fiancée Lesley, by his side on Wednesday morning, West Ham said.
West Ham joint-chairman David Sullivan told the club website: “On behalf of everyone at the football club, it is with profound sorrow and a heavy heart that we mourn the passing of our colleague and friend, David Gold.
“Of all our joint ventures, none gave us more pride and happiness than the day we took ownership of West Ham United, our club, in January 2010.”
Hammers manager David Moyes added: “I am extremely sad to hear this news and, on behalf of all of the players and my staff at the training ground, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to David Gold’s family at this very difficult time…It was clear that he had a genuine and sincere love for the club and was a true supporter at heart.”
Before becoming involved with West Ham, Gold enjoyed a lengthy and lucrative business career that saw him help launch the British lingerie chain Ann Summers but also attracted controversy for his time as a publisher of adult magazines.
Gold had previously been the chairman of Birmingham before selling his shares in the club in 2009.