Harry Gregg in action playing for Northern Ireland against France during the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. AFP/VNA Photo
LONDON — Harry Gregg - hailed as a hero for saving lives in the air crash which killed eight of Manchester United's "Busby Babes" in Munich - has died at the age of 87.
Gregg, who was United's goalkeeper, rescued a mother and her baby daughter, team-mates Bobby Charlton and Jackie Blanchflower and manager Matt Busby from the wreckage of the plane on February 6, 1958.
He was back playing for Manchester United just 13 days later against Sheffield on Wednesday.
Gregg became the world's most expensive goalkeeper when he joined United in December 1957 for 23,500 pounds and went on to be voted the best at the following year's World Cup in Sweden.
He was capped 25 times by Northern Ireland and played 247 times for United from 1957-66.
"It is with great sorrow that we inform of the death of Manchester United and Northern Ireland legend Harry Gregg, OBE," the Harry Gregg Foundation announced on its Facebook page Monday.
"Harry passed away peacefully in hospital surrounded by his loving family. The Gregg family would like to thank the medical staff at Causeway Hospital for their wonderful dedication to Harry over his last few weeks.
"To everyone who has called, visited or sent well wishes we thank you for the love and respect shown to Harry and the family."
Charlton, who is the last survivor from the United group, paid a handsome tribute.
"He will always be remembered as a heroic figure," said Charlton. "A shining light both on and off the pitch."
United posted a tribute on their website.
"It is with deepest sadness that we have learned of the passing of former player Harry Gregg OBE," said the club.
Legendary United manager Alex Ferguson, who remarked in the past Gregg was his hero, said he was deeply saddened.
"Harry was a man of great character and a true legend at our club," said Ferguson.
"I loved his company and the many pieces of advice he gave me." AFP