Former Newcastle chairman Shepherd passes away

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Former Newcastle United chairman Freddy Shepherd died "peacefully at his home" on Monday, his family have confirmed.

Born in 1941, Shepherd, along with John Hall, helped the north-east club secure Premier League status in 1993 and was pivotal in attracting Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer to join during his time at St James' Park.

The businessman - who was awarded the freedom of the city of Newcastle earlier this year - sold his share of the club to Mike Ashley in 2007 after a 10-year stint as chairman.

"Freddy Shepherd, former chairman of Newcastle United and chairman of Shepherd Offshore Group and Triple S Sports & Entertainment Group, sadly passed away peacefully at his home last night," the family announced in a statement.

"At this difficult time the family have asked that their privacy be respected and all media enquiries should be directed to Mark Whittle of Triple S Communications."

Shearer led the tributes to his "great friend" on social media, thanking Shepherd for bringing him back to his home city in 1996 for a world-record fee of £15million.