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Everton’s players were reportedly sent home from Tuesday’s training session after hearing the news that chairman Bill Kenwright had died at the age of 78. Toffees boss Sean Dyche made the decision after discovering that the theatre icon had died peacefully, surrounded by his family on Monday evening.
The Liverpool Echo have claimed that Everton had been undergoing training when Dyche was told the news of Kenwright’s passing, as he then halted the session at Finch Farm and sent his players home for the day.
The club released a statement on Tuesday afternoon that read: “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.
“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.
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“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.”
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The heartbreaking news comes after Kenwright had been admitted to intensive care following complications during surgery earlier this month. The operation had been deemed a success but resulted in the 78-year-old spending “a prolonged period in an intensive care unit”.
Kenwright revealed in 2015 that he had been diagnosed with a “chronic illness” that would likely get worse over time.
It was clear the effect that Kenwright had on Everton as a whole and his passing was felt by everyone affiliated with the Toffees, with players sent home as a result of the magnitude of the news.
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