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"He Changed Football forever": Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha named among victims of helicopter crash.

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"A man of kindness, of generosity and a man whose life was defined by the love he devoted to his family and those he so successfully led. Leicester City was a family under his leadership. It is as a family that we will grieve his passing and maintain the pursuit of a vision for the club that is now his legacy."

Leicester City Football Club have spoke of their owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha's "kindness" and "generosity" as it is confirmed by Leicester City Police that he, his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz, his staff Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare and the pilot Eric Swaffer, died in a helicopter crash on Saturday while traveling from King Power Stadium at 20:30 BST. 

Thai Billionare Mr. Vichai, 60, married with four children, had bought the club in 2010 for £39M and cleared their debts. The Foxes had been 5000/1 outsiders at the start of the 2016 season, but through his leadership managed the amazing fete of winning the Premiere League.

Beyond his impact on football he is known for his involvement in British horse-racing and his philanthropy. BBC South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head noted he was a "generous donator" to "high-profile community projects" in Britain and Thailand. 

Leicester City Supporters Club chairman Cliff Ginetta spoke of how Vichai was "loved by the Leicester public" for what he'd "done to the football club and for what they have done for the city". Millions have went both into the club, hospitals and children's care in the area.

The helicopter had just cleared the football team's stadium when the crash occured. "Emergency services were immediately on scene when the crash happened", Supt Steve Potter said, with attempts made to put the resulting fire and rescue those inside. "Despite those efforts, there were no survivors" and the investigation of the crash site is likely to take several days, he said. 

Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel ran towards the crash scene, witnesses say, and described how Mr. Vichai had "changed football forever" while freelance photographer Ryan Brown who was covering the game spoke to BBC Radio Leicester about what he witnessed: The engine suddenly stopped and "made a bit of a whirring noise, like a grinding noise" then the helicopter became silent and "was just spinning, out of control". There was "a big bang" then a "fireball".

 

The club, city and wider British public have all expressed their grief following Mr. Vichai's passing. Leicester City released a statement saying their thoughts were with "the Srivaddhanaprabha family and the families of all those on-board at this time of unspeakable loss".

Club ambassador Alan Birchenall spoke of how the team owed "everything" to Mr. Scrivaddhanaprabha who had enabled them to win the league. "We wouldn't have got near it without him", He said. Birchenall ended that the grief at King Power stadium meant today there "won't be a dry eye among any of the staff".

Fans have took to social media posting a version of the team's emblem, but with the fox crying to commerate him. Meanwhile a book of condolence is avaliable to sign online or in person. 

FA president Prince William stated that the historic winning season he oversaw had "captured the imagination of the world" and today he would be "missed by all fans of the sport and everyone lucky enough to have known him". Prime Minister Theresa May said, that the "outpouring of grief is a testament" to the impact he had. 

The club described Vichai Scrivaddhanaprabha as a "man of kindness" who made Leicester City "a family under his leadership" which will now "as a family" grieve his death and mantain "the vision for the club that is now his legacy".

Image rights - Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vichai_Raksriaksorn.jpg




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