Tito Vilanova, the former coach of FC Barcelona, has died after a long battle with illness. He was 45-years-old.
The former youth team player had been diagnosed with throat cancer in 2011, and had undergone surgery to have a growth removed.
However, he suffered a relapse in 2012, ultimately forcing him to step down from the manager’s job at the Camp Nou last year. Tata Martino was appointed as his successor.
The Catalan club released a statement on Friday that read: "FC Barcelona is in immense mourning. Tito Vilanova has died at the age of 45. May he rest in peace.
"The club wishes to express its most heartfelt sympathy to his family, who are being joined in these moments of mourning by FC Barcelona members and fans all around the world, as well as the rest of the footballing and sporting world. The Vilanova family has asked for respect for their desire for the strictest intimacy in the moments after his death."
Lionel Messi, the star of Vilanova's Barcelona team, said on his Facebook page: "A person difficult to forget. I will always remember you. All my love to the family of Tito."
A former midfielder who spent his playing career largely in the Spanish second division, Vilanova first assisted Guardiola with the Barcelona B team before the pair stepped up to the first XI in 2008 The pair oversaw the club's 2009 and 2011 Champions League wins during four trophy-laden campaigns.
In sole charge, Vilanova led Barca to their highest ever points total for a La Liga season during his single season in charge, their 100 points a joint record for the division with Real Madrid.
Jose Mourinho: '....On behalf of everybody at Chelsea Football Club I send my deepest condolences at this most difficult time.' #CFC— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) April 25, 2014
... Mucha fuerza para tu familia! Descansa en paz míster. Un beso (2/2) pic.twitter.com/M1YI3TgozD— Andrés Iniesta (@andresiniesta8) April 25, 2014
Moltes gràcies per tot Mister. Exemple dins i fora del camp. Mai t'oblidarem. #TitoEtern— Carles Puyol (@Carles5puyol) April 25, 2014
Gràcies Tito...April 25, 2014
Un fuerte abrazo a toda su familia, todo mi apoyo y mucho ánimo. (2/2) pic.twitter.com/Xn59cZqCFN— Victor Valdes (@1victorvaldes) April 25, 2014
Dios es el dueño de todo, sólo el sabe nuestro llegada, nuestra salida, en sus manos nuestras vida. En… http://t.co/8ierxg9Ckl— Daniel Alves (@DaniAlvesD2) April 25, 2014
Hasta Siempre Mister. Gracias por todo. Descansa en Paz / Even Always Mister. Thanks for everything. Rest in Peace. pic.twitter.com/yE4aoOmlHg— Javier Mascherano (@Mascherano) April 25, 2014
A very sad day, Tito Vilanova has left us but his fighting remains as an example. RIP great hug to all his family— David De Gea (@D_DeGea) April 25, 2014
DEP Tito Vilanova.— Juan Mata García (@juanmata8) April 25, 2014