The family of Gordon McQueen has confirmed that the ex-Manchester United and Leeds United defender has been diagnosed with dementia.
McQueen, 68, was capped 30 times for Scotland and won the 1973-74 First Division title with Leeds with whom he also played in the 1975 European Cup final while he was also an FA Cup winner with Manchester United in a 15-year career that began at St Mirren.
He went on to manage Airdrie and coach at Middlesbrough alongside former Old Trafford team-mate Bryan Robson before working as a television pundit on Sky Sports.
The family revealed on Tuesday that McQueen was diagnosed with vascular dementia in January.
"As a family we felt it was important to let people know, particularly if raising awareness can help others in similar situations," they said in a statement.
"Whilst as a family we've found it hard to come to terms with the changes in dad, he has no regrets about his career and has lived life to the full.
"He had unforgettable experiences in his playing days with Scotland, Manchester United and Leeds United, and also took so much from his coaching and TV work in more recent times."
Heartbreaking not to be spending precious time with dad of late but trying to stay positive & also raise awareness about vascular dementia as a family. It’s a cruel disease but had plenty help recently from both @PFA & @FA 💔Thank you for the messages of support on here already https://t.co/fPhVEXJN0b pic.twitter.com/lmV1TGZknG
— HAYLEY MCQUEEN (@HayleyMcQueen) February 23, 2021
The NHS in the UK say that vascular dementia is caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, and leads to gradual changes and damage to the organ.
The news comes less than a year after the Leeds stopper's former team-mate at Elland Road, Jack Charlton, died with dementia while former Manchester United and England player Nobby Stiles, who had dementia, also passed away last year.
In the McQueen family statement, they add that Gordon McQueen "wants other footballers of today’s generation to know there may be risks with persistent heading of the ball.
"Dad scored some important goals in his career and memorable headers but used to stay back in training, heading the ball to the goalkeeper for practice over and over," said the McQueen family.
"He does wonder if this has been a factor in his dementia as his symptoms appeared in his mid-60s.
"He is fully aware of his friends and family still and his memory of all things football is sharp, but his cognitive functions are not the same,"
"We don't want people to be surprised by his condition or continue to ask him for media interviews or autographs which he is not able to do any more.
"Whilst he is looking forward to seeing people again after lockdown and getting the social aspect of life back, we know people will see a big difference in his health so wanted to be transparent.
"We thank everyone in advance for their understanding and hope sharing this news will help dad to face the future in a positive way."
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