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Sir Bobby Charlton’s cause of death revealed after class of ’66 football legend died aged 86


Sir Bobby Charlton died after a fall at a care home where he was battling dementia, an inquest has heard.

The England legend, who won the World Cup in 1966, lost his balance as he stood up from his chair and struck a windowsill and ‘possibly a radiator’, Cheshire Coroner’s Court heard.

Staff performed a full-body check at the time and noted no visible injuries, and initially found the 86-year-old’s mobility seemed unaffected.

But they later noticed swelling on his back and paramedics were called to The Willows in Knutsford Cheshire, where he’d been receiving respite care since July.

He was then taken to the local hospital before being moved to Macclesfield General Hospital.

Sir Bobby Charlton died after suffering broken ribs during a fall at a care home, an inquest has heard

Sir Bobby Charlton died after suffering broken ribs during a fall at a care home, an inquest has heard

Sir Bobby Charlton pictured with his wife Norma at an event in Germany in September 2014

Sir Bobby Charlton pictured with his wife Norma at an event in Germany in September 2014

Paramedics were called to The Willows in Knutsford Cheshire, where he'd been receiving respite care since July

Paramedics were called to The Willows in Knutsford Cheshire, where he’d been receiving respite care since July

Tributes to the late Sir Bobby Charlton next to his statue outside Old Trafford

Tributes to the late Sir Bobby Charlton next to his statue outside Old Trafford

Fans hold up cards to create a mural in remembrance of Sir Bobby Charlton prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City

Fans hold up cards to create a mural in remembrance of Sir Bobby Charlton prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City

A chest X-ray and CT scan revealed he’d fractured his ribs and was likely to develop pneumonia.

Doctors agreed that he should be put on end-of-life care at the hospital, the inquest heard. He died on October 21, five days after his fall, at the age of 86.

Sir Bobby is survived by his wife Lady Norma, their two daughters Suzanne and Andrea and grandchildren.

The gifted footballer, who was born in Ashington, Northumberland, on October 11 1937, is widely viewed as one of the greatest players to ever grace the game and played an integral role in England’s 1966 World Cup glory. 

Following his death, Sir Geoff Hurst – who famously scored a hat-trick in England’s 4-2 victory over West Germany at Wembley – is now the only member of the team still alive

It was heard that Sir Bobby was ‘unsteady on his feet, especially when standing from a seated position’ as a result of his living with dementia.

The inquest, held in Warrington, heard Sir Bobby had an extensive medical history, which included an appendix removal, gout, a urine infection and chest infections.

The inquest heard he had also contracted Covid-19 in September.

Tamara Simmons, manager at the care home, said Sir Bobby ‘needed support with all aspects of daily living.’

The inquest heard his bed was as close to the ground as possible, with crash mats and motion sensors in place due to his restlessness making him likely to roll out of bed.

Coroner Devonish ruled that Sir Bobby’s death was accidental.

She gave his cause of death as: Traumatic haemopneumothorax; A fall; Alzheimer’s/dementia.

Bobby Charlton (R) celebrates England's 1966 World Cup victory. From left to right: Jack Charlton, Nobby Stiles, Gordon Banks (behind), Alan Ball, Martin Peters, Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore, Ray Wilson, George Cohen and Bobby Charlton

Bobby Charlton (R) celebrates England’s 1966 World Cup victory. From left to right: Jack Charlton, Nobby Stiles, Gordon Banks (behind), Alan Ball, Martin Peters, Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore, Ray Wilson, George Cohen and Bobby Charlton

Sir Bobby Charlton is pictured representing his country against Wales in April 1970

Sir Bobby Charlton is pictured representing his country against Wales in April 1970

Bobby Charlton with his wife Norma and two daughters Suzanne and Andrea in their garden at home in the 1960s

Bobby Charlton with his wife Norma and two daughters Suzanne and Andrea in their garden at home in the 1960s

Tributes poured in from across football and public life for the ‘giant of the game’ after Sir Bobby’s death was announced.

The son of a miner, he joined United as a schoolboy and was part of the iconic Busby Babes team.

He survived the Munich air disaster when the plane taking them back to Manchester crashed, killing 23 people including eight players and three staff members.

A decade on, he was part of the great United team that won the European Cup in 1968.

He was also part of England’s legendary 1966 World Cup winning team alongside his older brother Jack.

A statement from the family of Sir Bobby, said last month: ‘It is with great sadness that we share the news that Sir Bobby passed peacefully in the early hours of Saturday morning. He was surrounded by his family. 

‘His family would like to pass on their thanks to everyone who has contributed to his care and for the many people who have loved and supported him. We would request that the family’s privacy be respected at this time.’

Manchester United said ‘words will never be enough’ as they mourn ‘one of the greatest and most beloved players in the history of our club’, while England described Charlton, who had previously held the record as all-time top goalscorer for both England and United, as a ‘true legend of our game’. 

Prince William, who is president of the FA, has described Sir Bobby Charlton as ‘a true great who will be remembered forever’ in a personal message on social media.

Sir Bobby and his brother Jack - who died three years ago - embrace after an England vs West Germany game in 1985. The brothers had a bitter feud but reconciled in later life

Sir Bobby and his brother Jack – who died three years ago – embrace after an England vs West Germany game in 1985. The brothers had a bitter feud but reconciled in later life

This is believed to be the last photo of Sir Bobby Charlton on February 20, 2021. He received a vaccine to help protect him against COVID-19 as celebrities tried to encourage as many people to get the jab

This is believed to be the last photo of Sir Bobby Charlton on February 20, 2021. He received a vaccine to help protect him against COVID-19 as celebrities tried to encourage as many people to get the jab

Charlton (in a Munich hospital) survived the Munich air disaster in 1958 when he was just 20 years old which tragically killed eight of United's Busby Babes and 23 people in total

Charlton (in a Munich hospital) survived the Munich air disaster in 1958 when he was just 20 years old which tragically killed eight of United’s Busby Babes and 23 people in total

A scarf is wrapped around the statue of Sir Bobby Charlton at Old Trafford following his death last month

A scarf is wrapped around the statue of Sir Bobby Charlton at Old Trafford following his death last month

The Prince of Wales said: ‘Sir Bobby Charlton. First Division Champion. European Champion. World Champion. Gentleman. Legend. A true great who will be remembered forever. Thank you Sir Bobby. W’ said the tribute posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called him ‘one of the game’s greatest players’. 

In the days following his death, tributes were paid at football stadiums up and down the country, most notably at Old Trafford, where fans laid thousands of scarves and flowers and held up cards to create a mural in his memory before the Manchester derby last weekend. 

Sir Bobby, who won 106 caps for the Three Lions, scoring 49 goals, was diagnosed with dementia in 2020.

His death also sparked a call for action by Alzheimer’s Research UK, who said there are ‘no treatments available in the UK to slow, stop or prevent the diseases that cause dementia’.

Chief executive Hilary Evans said: ‘Our thoughts are with Sir Bobby Charlton’s family, and all those who loved him, following the tragic news that he has died with dementia.

‘Sir Bobby was a hero and so many of us have great memories from his impressive career on the pitch.

‘He will be greatly missed and we send his family our sympathies.

‘It’s absolutely devastating that Sir Bobby’s final years were blighted by dementia, but unfortunately this is the case for almost one million people in the UK today.

‘At Alzheimer’s Research UK, we are determined to change the ending for everyone affected by dementia by finding a cure, and the awful news about Sir Bobby highlights that we don’t have a moment to waste.’



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