Tito Vilanova, FC Barcelona’s Former Coach, Dies Of Cancer At The Age Of 45

Tito Vilanova, former FC Barcelona’s coach died of throat cancer at the age of 45, the club announced in a short statement on Friday.

“The club expresses their deepest condolences over the passing of Tito Vilanova, who died today in Barcelona at the age of 45.”

Vilanova took over from current Bayern Munich skipper, Pep Guardiola, but was forced to leave Barca due to poor health after only a year at the helm. He was Guardiola’s assistant for four-years.

Tito Vilanova was first diagnosed with parotid gland cancer in November 2011 and after receiving treatment for his condition, the cancer returned in December 2012.

Even though he missed a good chunk of the season — between December 2012 and March 2013 — Barcelona managed to win the La Liga title before he resigned in July of last year.

Barcelona has been posting heartfelt messages on Twitter all day and many in the football community have done so as well:

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Others in European football have also expressed their condolences for Vilanova’s passing, including Chelsea’s manager Jose Mourinho, with whom Tito didn’t always get along and famously poked him in the eye in one such scuffle:

“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.”

His short time as manager, was the most successful in Barcelona’s history they won six major titles and become the first Spanish team to win the treble: La Liga, UEFA Champions League, and the Copa del Rey in the same season.

Tito Vilanova is survived by his wife Montse, daughter Carlota, and son Adrià, who plays football in Barcelona’s B team.

[Image via Twitter]