Roger Hunt has been hailed as “one of the guys who made Liverpool what it is today” following his death at the age of 83.
The Reds’ record league goalscorer struck 244 times in 404 league appearances for the club from 1958 until 1969 and was a member of England’s World Cup-winning side in 1966.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports: “I’m really shocked and saddened really. I think it will be felt throughout the country because it’s another of the 1966 legends who won the World Cup.
“But to Liverpool supporters it is ‘Sir Roger’, as he was christened by the Kop all those years ago, and one of the guys who made Liverpool what it is today.
“He will never be forgotten. We talk about Bill Shankly coming to the club in 1959, but I think Roger Hunt joined in 1958 and had almost as big an impact as Shankly.
“He, along with other members of that great team, got Liverpool out of the Second Division, winning titles and probably more importantly at the time, winning the FA Cup in 1965.
“Roger Hunt got the first goal in the final and they are huge milestones in the history of club, which Roger played a part in.”
Hunt scored 285 goals in all competitions for Liverpool, a record which stood until Ian Rush surpassed it in 1992.
Carragher added: “If you think of some of the greatest goalscorers Liverpool have had, Roger is right at the top of that list. There’s been some great goalscorers and to be top shows just how special he was.
“He was known around the club as an absolute gentleman, he really was. Players like myself, Steven Gerrard, Robbie Fowler, we were in awe of him because we knew what he had done for the club.”
Rush himself tweeted: “Very sad to hear of the passing of Sir Roger Hunt, someone I would always look up to. He was a fantastic goalscorer and a true gentleman on and off the pitch. My thoughts are with his family. May he rest in peace.”
Former Liverpool manager Roy Evans, who played alongside Hunt at the club before spending four years in charge from 1994, also described Hunt as “special.”
“Sometimes I’d be playing in the reserves against the first team and I’d be playing against Roger and they were a fantastic bunch of guys,” Evans told Sky Sports.
“Roger was really special in terms of how he would speak to you. As a guy, fantastic. He was an honest guy, said what he thought and it’s a sad loss.
“We knew he’d not been well for a while, it’s a sad loss. My commiserations go to his family, he’s a man we will never forget.”
England acknowledged the integral role Hunt played in the nation’s World Cup win in 1966.
Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham said in a statement: “English football has lost another great with the passing of Roger Hunt.
“On behalf of the FA, our thoughts are with his family and friends today. Twice a league champion with Liverpool, either side of a memorable FA Cup success in 1965, Roger will always be treasured by fans across the country as one of our World Cup winners of 1966.
“He will forever be remembered at Wembley Stadium and we will pay tribute to his memory before our home fixture with Hungary next month.”
Former England striker Gary Lineker described Hunt as “a truly great striker.”
He said on Twitter: “He may be gone but his achievements will always be remembered. RIP Roger.”
Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge tweeted: “I’m absolutely gutted to hear of the passing away of one, if not the best LFC strikers Sir Roger Hunt.
“What a striker and a true gentleman, I had the great pleasure of being with him on many occasions. RIP my No. 1 legend and hero.”