Former Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has said he is ‘terribly shaken’ by the tragic death of chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
The Premier League title-winning boss has spoken of his sadness at the heart-breaking passing of the Thai billionaire, who he described as ‘a good man’ and ‘a positive person who was full of energy’.
Club owner Srivaddhanaprabha was one of five people who lost their lives in a tragic helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium following the Foxes’ 1-1 draw with West Ham on Saturday.
Leicester’s home ground has become a memorial for the 60-year-old in the three days since the accident, with thousands of flowers, cards, shirts and scarfs being laid by supporters.
On Monday, son and vice chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha was joined by his mother, Aimon, at the stadium as they laid a wreath during an emotional morning, which also saw Leicester players join the mourners.
And Ranieri has said he “joins the family in grief” after the loss of a man who gave him the Leicester job in 2015 and celebrated winning the Premier League alongside him ten months later.
“I was terribly shaken by the news,” the Italian coach told Sky Sports Italia.
“He was a good man and always had a positive word for everyone. His positivity and ability to make everybody love him was clear for all to see. He came into the dressing room only to dispense kind words, never to reproach you.
“One time soon after my birthday, he arrived in the dressing room with a huge cake and made everyone sing ‘Happy Birthday.’
“He was an illuminated man and everything he touched became better.
“Now it’s up to his son, who has always been in love with football, to carry on in his father’s footsteps.
“I remember when we first met that I immediately thought he was a positive person, full of energy. My objective when I arrived at Leicester was to secure Premier League safety, then we all know what happened.
“Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha made a very important contribution to the Premier League victory, as he’d arrive 30 minutes before the game to embrace everyone. He never said a word out of turn, was always happy with a smile on his face.
“I am so sad right now, I want to join the family in their grief.”