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Billy McNeill dead: Celtic legend and Lisbon Lion passes away aged 79

Mirror logo Mirror 23-04-2019 James Whaling
Billy McNeill holding a glass: 20/05/14
 CELTIC PARK - GLASGOW
 Former Celtic captain Billy McNeill is looking forward to seeing the UEFA Champions League trophy being lifted again in Lisbon as he did in 1967 with the Lisbon Lions squad. © SNS Group 20/05/14 CELTIC PARK - GLASGOW Former Celtic captain Billy McNeill is looking forward to seeing the UEFA Champions League trophy being lifted again in Lisbon as he did in 1967 with the Lisbon Lions squad.

Celtic legend Billy McNeill has passed away, aged 79.

Lisbon Lion McNeill was the first British man to lift the European Cup as captain.

He skippered the Hoops in their 1967 European Cup triumph where they beat Inter Milan in the final.

GLASGOW, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 01: Celtic manager Billy McNeill pictured in his Celtic tie in 1983 before moving to Manchester City. (Photo by David Cannon/Allsport/Getty Images) © Getty Images GLASGOW, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 01: Celtic manager Billy McNeill pictured in his Celtic tie in 1983 before moving to Manchester City. (Photo by David Cannon/Allsport/Getty Images)

McNeill also led Celtic to nine successive league titles, seven Scottish Cups and six League Cups.

Post retirement, he had two spells in the Parkhead dugout where he claimed four league titles and four cups.

McNeill also managed Manchester City and Aston Villa.

The former defender had suffered from dementia since 2010 and was unable to speak during his final years.

Announcing his death, Celtic confirmed he had 'passed away surrounded by his family and loved ones'.

In a statement on Celtic's website, McNeill's family said: "It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our father Billy McNeill. He passed away late last night (Monday, April 22) surrounded by his family and loved ones. 

Billy McNeill standing next to a fence: McNeill led Celtic to the European Cup in 1967 © SNS Group 0141 221 3602 McNeill led Celtic to the European Cup in 1967

"He suffered from dementia for a number of years and fought bravely to the end, showing the strength and fortitude he always has done throughout his life.

"We would also like to note our love and appreciation to our mother, Liz, for the care, devotion and love she gave to our father throughout his illness. No one could have done any more.

"Whilst this is a very sad time for all the family and we know our privacy will be respected, our father always made time for the supporters so please tell his stories, sing his songs and help us celebrate his life."

Gallery: People we lost in 2019 [Photo Services]

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