David Beckham Honors Leicester Soccer Team Owner Who Died in Helicopter Crash Leaving Stadium
David Beckham is honoring the members of the soccer community who lost their lives in a tragic helicopter crash over the weekend
David Beckham is honoring the members of the soccer community who lost their lives in a tragic helicopter crash over the weekend.
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the billionaire owner of the Leicester City Football Club, was killed last Saturday along with four others when the helicopter they were flying out of England’s King Power Stadium after a match started to spin before plummeting to the ground in a parking lot, the BBC reported.
In a statement released online, the football club said, “It is with the deepest regret and a collective broken heart that we confirm our Chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was among those to have tragically lost their lives on Saturday evening when a helicopter carrying him and four other people crashed outside King Power Stadium. None of the five people on-board survived.”
Continued the statement, “The primary thoughts of everyone at the Club are with the Srivaddhanaprabha family and the families of all those on-board at this time of unspeakable loss. In Khun Vichai, the world has lost a great man. A man of kindness, of generosity and a man whose life was defined by the love he devoted to his family and those he so successfully led. Leicester City was a family under his leadership. It is as a family that we will grieve his passing and maintain the pursuit of a vision for the Club that is now his legacy.”
This week, former British soccer star Beckham reacted to the news on Instagram, sharing a message alongside the team’s logo.
“Very sorry to hear about the tragedy at Leicester,” the 43-year-old said. “My thoughts and condolences are with the families, loved ones and everyone associated with the club.”
He added, “Mr Srivaddhanaprabha was a fantastic owner and seemed like a man with huge ambition and passion … May they rest in peace…”
The crash took place Saturday around 8:30 p.m. local time, according to BBC. Of the four additional people on board, two were members of Srivaddhanaprabha’s staff, Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare. The others were pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz. The outlet reported that Swaffer was a career flyer.
Ex-Leicester player Peter Shilton and his wife Steph told BBC they witnessed the incident. It started when the helicopter reportedly “seemed to be making a funny noise and started to spin,” Shilton said.
“It was surreal and we weren’t sure what was happening, but then it started to spiral. We realized it was out of control and all of a sudden it started coming towards us… It will live with us forever,” he recalled to the outlet.
Dozens of influential figures have spoken kindly of Srivaddhanaprabha since the tragic accident. Prince William, the current president of the U.K.’s Football Association, said “he will be missed by all fans of the sport and everyone lucky enough to have known him,” according to BBC.
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U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May even addressed the tragedy. “The outpouring of grief is a testament to how many people’s lives were touched by those on board,” she said, the BBC reported.
Fans online are circulating an edited version of the logo Beckham posted, which now includes a crying fox to show their support. Players will also pay tribute to Vichai during their game against Cardiff this week by wearing black armbands, BBC reports.