The football world is in mourning today after FC Barcelona announced that former manager Tito Vilanova has passed away from complications related to his throat cancer after fighting the disease for the past three years. The 45 year old took over the managerial duties at Barcelona after Pep Guardiola resigned to take a sabbatical but was forced to resign after being diagnosed with throat cancer in 2011. Vilanova took months off for treatment at the time then returned to lead Barcelona to another La Liga title. He resigned for good after the 2012/13 season to undergo further treatment but succumbed to the disease.
From FC Barcelona’s official Twitter account:
“The FC Barcelona is in immense mourning. Tito Vilanova has died at the age of 45. May he rest in peace.”
Barcelona club president Josep Maria Bartomeu also paid tribute to Vilanova:
“Tito Vilanova was a wonderful person, and will never be forgotten at FC Barcelona. Thank you for everything you taught us. Rest in peace.”
His old foe Jose Mourinho sent his condolences through Chelsea FC’s official Twitter account:
Tito Vilanova’s passing is a sad day for football, for Barcelona and most importantly for his family and friends. On behalf of everybody at Chelsea Football Club I send my deepest condolences at this most difficult time.
Vilanova was one of the managerial “good guys” and he took over the high profile job at Barcelona with little fanfare and continued the success the club experienced under Guardiola for so many seasons. Tito was a part of the Barcelona youth setup but failed to break through to the first team and spent the remainder of his career as a journeyman between the Spanish top flight and second tier league.
Vilanova began his coaching career at Tercera División side FC Palafrugell and then moved on to be a technical director at Terrassa FC. He was then appointed assistant manager of the FC Barcelona B with Pep Guardiola as his superior. The two led FC Barcelona B to the second division and were both promoted to the first team managerial positions replacing Frank Rijkaard and Johan Neeskens. Their first season in charge was the most successful in Barcelona’s history and Vilanova was rewarded with the manager position after Guardiola departed.
The news of his passing has spread quickly throughout the football world and the club that he called home will surely have a tribute when they face Villareal on Sunday in La Liga. We send our thoughts and condolences to the Vilanova family. He is survived by his wife Montse Chaure and two children, one of whom is currently in the Barcelona academy.
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