‘His passion for the club was undeniable and he will be missed’: Arsenal and Ian Wright lead tributes to football pundit Claude Callegari as AFTV suspend coverage following the passing of their former star at the age of 58
- Tributes have been paid to Arsenal FanTV pundit Claude Callegari
- The lifelong fan tragically died at the age of 58 on Monday, it was announced
- Arsenal and club legend Ian Wright were among those to tweet condolences
- Kevin Campbell and Graham Roberts also paid tribute to the Youtube pundit
- For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details
Arsenal and club legend Ian Wright led the tributes to Arsenal FanTV pundit Claude Callegari, who tragically died at the age of 58 on March 29.
Callegari’s death was confirmed in a statement from his family on his Twitter feed on Tuesday, days after he told his social media followers he would ‘disappear soon to see my mother then you can all be happy’.
The Gunners official account tweeted their condolences to his family and hailed his passion for the club. They wrote: ‘Sending our condolences to Claude’s famliy, friends and everyone who cherished him. His passion for the club was undeniable and he will be missed.’
Arsenal led tributes to former Arsenal FanTV pundit Claude Callegari, who died on Monday
Club legend Ian Wright also tweeted his condolences following the news on Tuesday
The football pundit became a popular and regular fixture of the AFTV Youtube Channel
Arsenal hero Wright also wrote ‘RIP Claude’ following the news on Tuesday.
One of Callegari’s final tweets came in response to criticism of his analysis on Arsenal FanTV, in which he wrote: ‘No one is forcing you to watch it don’t worry I will disappear soon to see my mother then you can all be happy’.
A statement released on behalf of the family read: ‘We can’t believe we are writing this, with permission from Claude’s father, it is with great sadness and a broken heart that we have to announce that our dear friend and legend Claude sadly passed away yesterday afternoon, March 29.
‘RIP dear friend, gone but never forgotten. Gooner for life.’
AFTV announced they would suspend coverage while they come to terms with his passing.
Two days before he passed away, Callegari tweeted to a critic that he would ‘disappear soon’
A statement was released about ‘legend’ Callegari with tributes flooding in for the pundit
AFTV tweeted to say they were devastated to hear about the loss of their former pundit
They went on to say that they would suspend their coverage while they process the news
They wrote: ‘We are absolutely devastated today to learn of the death of Claude Callegari, one of the channel’s most popular contributors.
‘Claude was a much loved figure during his time on the channel and through his passion for Arsenal was able to connect with fans from around the globe on a meaningful level.
‘We had continued to privately support Claude during his time away from the channel during the pandemic and the news of his passing comes as a deep shock to everyone at AFTV and in the wider Arsenal community.
‘We will not be publishing any content on our platform over the next few days whilst we come to terms with the news of his passing.
In a video entitled ‘RIP Claude Callegari | Father, Grand Father, Friend And A Proud Arsenal Fan‘, AFTV host Robbie Lyle addressed his close friend’s passing.
‘I remember about six weeks ago, at the time there were a few people ringing me up telling me he was having some issues so I rang him up,’ Lyle said.
‘I said, “Claude, what’s up? I’ve heard there are a few issues going on. He said “no, no Robbie, I’m alright”. It was round the anniversary of his mum’s passing and that he was missing his mum.
Ex-Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell was among those quick to offer his condolences to family
Former Tottenham striker Graham Roberts shared a meeting he had with Callegari in tribute
‘The guy had a heart of gold and I have nothing but love for him. We’ve lost ourselves a real genuine guy, a massive Arsenal fan and I’d love Arsenal to do something for him when football comes back. I’m really devastated.’
There were more tributes from former Arsenal stars with Kevin Campbell tweeting: ‘Deepest condolences to Claude’s Father and family. I honestly am shocked and can’t believe it! May he R.I.E.P.’
Former Tottenham and Chelsea striker Graham Roberts also detailed a meeting he had with Callegari in his message of condolence.
He tweeted: ‘Had the pleasure of meeting Claude at my flat last year with @1MickyHazard and @rocketrichman, @abbi_summers, @thenewtommitch he was a wonderful guy and real laugh I know he had some personal problems but he had an amazing heart and rivalries aside we had a great evening. Rip mate.’
Former Crystal Palace and Everton winger Yannick Bolasie tweeted: ‘RIP Claude. AFTV certiii, condolences to all his family.’
Spencer Owen, Youtuber and founder of non-league side Hashtag United, also offered his condolences, writing: ‘Rest in peace Claude.’
Mr DT, a regular contributor to AFTV and well known Youtuber posted an emotional message which read: ‘I honestly don’t know what to say, as a likeminded, passionate, and fiery Arsenal fan we clashed many a time. But there were some really good times, he was the Godfather to all of us. I honestly hope you’re at peace now, Claude, thank you for the many fun times together R.I.P’
Moh Haider, one of Callegari’s fellow pundits on the YouTube channel, wrote: Really sad to hear that Claude has passed away.
‘Claude was an unbelievably passionate @Arsenal man & was brilliantly witty, but unfortunately in a world where people take more pride in being ‘savage’ than being nice, he had his ups and downs.
Ex-Crystal Palace and Everton winger Yannick Bolasie tweeted his condolences for the pundit
Regular contributer to the channel and Youtuber MR DT shared an emotional tweet
Youtuber and Hashtag United founder Spencer Owen also tweeted his condolences
Moh Haider, another AFTV pundit, posted an emotional tribute for Callegari on Tuesday
‘I really hope that Claude passed away peacefully and painlessly, and my condolences go out to all of his family, friends, fans and all of the millions of people who smiled because of Claude. Rest in peace Claude.’
Fans of Callegari shared clips of his famous rants and arguments on Arsenal FanTV with his most iconic calling on Unai Emery to be sacked.
‘IT IS TIME TO GO!’ quickly became synonymous with Callegari’s post-match interviews outside the Emirates Stadium.
Callegari had not appeared on AFTV since July last year after he was dropped for calling Tottenham’s Son Heung-min a ‘DVD’ during a north London derby watchalong live stream.
Callegari was heard to say ‘DVD’s going off’ when the South Korean was substituted in the 94th minute of Tottenham’s 2-1 win.
The reference to selling DVDs from a market stall is a racist term that has been directed at Asian footballers, including Son, in the past.
Callegari later fronted up with a remorseful apology published across social media in which he insisted it was not meant as a racial slur.
For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details
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