Former Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood has died at the age of 82.
The Premier League club issued a statement on their website on Friday morning to confirm the tragic news.
Born and raised in London, Hill-Wood played a key role in the formation of the Premier League and was the man who appointed Arsene Wenger as manager.
A spokesperson for the club said: “During his time at the helm, the club enjoyed unparalleled success. Early in Peter’s tenure he presided over the appointment of George Graham as manager and a subsequent, trophy-laden spell that incorporated two league titles, the FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup.
“That success was followed by the remarkable era of Arsène Wenger, appointed by Peter and the board of directors to some surprise from the footballing world in 1996.
“Wenger went on to redefine the club and the game in this country, winning three Premier League titles and four FA Cups while Peter was chairman, including that most remarkable of achievements, the unbeaten season in 2003/04.”
Hill-Wood joined the Arsenal board in 1962 and assumed the role of chairman in 1982, after the death of his father Denis.
He held the role until 2013, when he was forced to step down after his health began to deteriorate.
A former vice-chairman of Hambros Bank, Hill-Wood was instrumental in ensuring the north Londoners made a smooth transition from their original home stadium at Highbury to the £390million Emirates Stadium in 2006.
The statement from the club’s official website continued: “As we celebrate the unique achievement of 100 consecutive years in the top flight this season, the Hill-Wood family were at the helm for the lion’s share of this special century, a testament to their tenacity and judgment in ensuring we have remained a significant force in English football for so long.
“Peter and his family’s influence on the club cannot be understated, but at this most difficult time for his family and friends, it is Peter the man who we remember with great fondness. Our thoughts are with his wife Sally and his children Sarah, Julian and Charles.”