Former Scotland, Manchester United and Leeds defender Gordon McQueen has been diagnosed with vascular dementia, his family have confirmed.
The 68-year-old started his career at St Mirren before joining Elland Road in 1972, winning the Premier League two years later and playing an important role in their run to the 1975 European Cup final.
McQueen went on to have a successful spell with Manchester United and represented Scotland 30 times, scoring five goals.
Having coached Airdrie through a coaching career that included time at Middlesbrough, the former center-back has become a popular television expert with Sky Sports.
A statement released by his wife Yvonne and children Hayley, Anna and Edward read: “In January, Gordon McQueen, our father, was officially diagnosed with vascular dementia.
“As a family, we felt it was important to let people know, especially if awareness can help other people in similar situations.
“While as a family we have struggled to come to terms with Dad’s changes, he has no regrets about his career and has lived his life to the fullest.
“He has had unforgettable experiences in his playing days with Scotland, Manchester United and Leeds United, and has also benefited a lot from his coaching and television work lately.
“Football has allowed him to travel the world and experience things he could only have dreamed of.
“But he wants other footballers of the current generation to know that there can be risks with a persistent header.
“Dad scored some important career goals and some memorable headers, but he used to stay in training, directing the ball towards the goalkeeper to practice over and over again.
“He wonders if this was a factor in his dementia when his symptoms started in his mid-sixties.
“The last year of confinement and release from prison has been difficult as Dad is a very outgoing and successful person outside of the company.
“Social interaction is essential for a person with dementia and he has been deprived of it for so long. He is always fully aware of his friends and family and his memory of all things football related to is vivid, but his functions cognitive are not the same.
“We don’t want people to be surprised by his condition or keep asking for interviews or autographs in the media, which he can’t do anymore.
“While he looks forward to seeing people again after the lockdown and getting back to the social side of life, we know people will see a big difference in his health, so we wanted to be transparent.
“We thank everyone in advance for their understanding and hope that sharing this news will help Dad face the future in a positive way.”
McQueen’s former Leeds teammate Jack Charlton died of dementia last year and it has been confirmed in recent months that Sir Bobby Charlton has been diagnosed with the disease.
The brothers’ 1966 World Cup-winning teammate Nobby Stiles also died of dementia last year.
The Football Association is currently supporting two independent research studies examining former professional players for early signs of neurocognitive degeneration.
The FOCUS study at the University of Nottingham is funded by the FA and the Professional Footballers Association, while the HEADING study at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is funded by the Drake Foundation.