Gerard Houllier, former Liverpool and Lyon manager passes away at the age of 73 according to France reports.
According to RMC Sports, the Frenchman Houllier who also worked with Aston Villa and Paris St-Germain in his coaching career at the club level passed away in the early hours of Monday morning at the age of 73 days after a heart operation.
Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker immediately paid tribute to the late, on social media stating, “Oh no! Gerard Houllier has passed away. One of football’s smartest, warmest and loveliest people”.
Michael Owen, who spent six years at Anfield under Houllier, winning the 2001 Ballon d’Or while under the tutelage of the Frenchman, declared himself “absolutely heartbroken”.
He labeled Houllier: “A great manager and a genuinely caring man.”
Houllier initially arrived at Anfield in July 1998, joining the club as co-manager with Roy Evans.
Evans resigned on November 10, leaving Houllier in sole charge, from where he rebuilt a side that had been labeled the “Spice Boys”.
That culminated in the club’s five cup success of 2001, as they claimed the UEFA Cup, FA Cup, League Cup, Charity Shield, and UEFA Super Cup.
He was rushed to the hospital for an emergency operation due to the discovery of a heart condition, an aortic dissection.
Nevertheless, he returned to the club after five months away, and with the help of the assistant, Phil Thompson led the club to a second-place finish in the 2001-02 season.
Houllier ultimately left Liverpool in 2004, having also overseen an overhaul of the club’s youth system, being replaced by Rafa Benitez.
He would subsequently return to coaching in France with Lyon in 2005, before a return to England with Aston Villa in 2010.
However, Houllier’s spell at Villa Park was cut short due to illness, forcing him to step down from his role after just nine months.
Houllier, who was awarded the Legion d’honneur for his services to French football, and an honorary OBE for services to British football, would become head of global football at Red Bull in 2012.
He would go on to work once more with the French Federation and Ligue 1, before in 2020 returning to Lyon, becoming technical director of the club’s women’s team and it’s OL Reign side in the USA.