Tributes paid to ‘generous’ Leicester City owner

People have been paying tribute to Leicester City FC owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who died when his helicopter crashed on Saturday.

Mr Srivaddhanaprabha was among five people killed when the aircraft came down outside the King Power Stadium after the team’s 1-1 draw with West Ham.

Leicestershire Police said the others who died were Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, who were members of Mr Srivaddhanaprabha’s staff, as well as pilot Eric Swaffer and passenger Izabela Roza Lechowicz.

The club described their chairman as “a man of kindness, of generosity” and said “Leicester City was a family under his leadership”.

He led the Foxes to the Premier League title in 2016, defying the 5,000/1 odds they faced at the start of the season.

Leicester City Council said Mr Srivaddhanaprabha “made a huge contribution” to the city.

BBC Sport’s Dan Walker described the confirmation of his death as “truly awful” news.

Leicester South MP Jonathan Ashworth said it was “awful news”, and added: “Our thoughts are with the loved ones of all who lost their lives in the helicopter crash. Khun Vichai was loved and respected hugely across Leicester.”

Simon Cole, Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police, praised the impact Mr Srivaddhanaprabha had on Leicester as a city, as well as the football club.

He said on Twitter: “Vichai was a generous man, who gave so much to Leicester in so many ways, including millions of pounds to charity, but he also gave hope, and delivered a seemingly impossible sporting dream. May he rest in peace.”

Wembley showed its support for the club as the famous arch above the national stadium was lit in white and blue to honour the East Midlands side.

Tony Fernandes, former chairman of Queen’s Park Rangers, called the news “tragic” and said: “His spirit will live on with his tremendous son. Vichai will allow us all to dream. He made the dream a reality and that will allow all of us to continue to dream the impossible and never give up. Farewell my friend.”

A condolence book will be opened at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday for fans and well-wishers to pay their respects, Leicester City said.