A HOST of Chelsea legends and current stars have paid tribute to academy kit man Eric Asiedu following his death.
The club confirmed the sad news on Wednesday that the much-loved backroom member had passed.
A statement said: “It is with great sadness that Chelsea Football Club has learned of the passing of our colleague Eric Asiedu.
“Eric was a hugely popular figure at our Cobham training ground in his role as Academy kitman, always going about his work with an infectious smile and wonderful positivity. He will be sadly missed by us all and the pain of his sudden passing will be felt by many.
“Affectionately known as ‘boss’ by players and staff alike, Eric went above and beyond to develop strong relationships with those he worked with in the Under-18 age group.
“He was a caring mentor and confidant in the dressing room to players taking their first tentative steps into full-time football, while carrying out his daily duties in meticulous fashion.
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“A humble and warm character, Eric joined Chelsea FC in April 2013, his presence and personality proving integral to the values of our Academy culture. He has been a constant on the sidelines during a great many of our youth team successes over the years.”
It added: “Eric’s passion for the job, the players he supported, and his love for Chelsea was evident for all to see and will be sorely missed. All at Chelsea send our deepest condolences to Eric’s family and friends at this most difficult time.”
Former Chelsea captain John Terry took to Twitter to pay his respects, writing: "RIP ERIC Heartbreaking news today. BOSS you will be deeply missed."
Winger Hudson-Odoi, 21, and wing-back Reece James, 22, have both come through the academy of the Premier League club in more recent years.
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And the England international duo both joined JT in posting a touching tribute to Asiedu online after working with him on their rise to the top at the club's Cobham HQ.
Hudson-Odoi wrote: "This really hurts! RIP ERIC.
"You really helped me through a lot growing up in the academy and you was more than a Kit man, you was a Good hearted man who wanted nothing but the best for Everyone!!
"Thank you for everything and May your soul Rest in perfect peace."
And James tweeted: "Rest In Peace Eric.
"You was more than a kit man. You had a real clean heart, funny personality and always wanted the best for all the academy lads. Miss the days when I used to rummage for fresh Nike socks.
"Until we meet again fly high & rest easy. Will miss you."
Chelsea’s head of youth development Neil Bath told the club’s website: “We are completely shocked and totally devastated to hear of Eric’s passing.
“When you get the good fortune to lead an organisation like an academy, you quickly realise that while players, coaches and staff get the public praise, there are key individuals behind the scenes who truly are the absolute key to developing and maintaining a successful culture.
“Eric the boss man was a real example of the values we want to promote, a caring and supportive individual who created the sort of unity and family spirit that so many leaders struggle to find.
“It is impossible to put into words the depth of sadness we all feel at this news but the reaction from staff, parents and players, both current and past, gives a sense of the incredible love we all felt towards Eric.
“Eric really was one of a kind – a special, smiling superstar.”
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