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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Ugo Ehiogu, former England and Aston Villa defender, dies at age of 44

Spurs correspondent Dan Kilpatrick reveals how highly the club regarded youth coach Ugo Ehiogu after his death aged 44.

Former England and Aston Villa defender Ugo Ehiogu has died aged 44, Tottenham Hotspur have announced.

Ehiogu, who had been working as Tottenham under-23s coach, was taken to hospital on Thursday after collapsing at the Hotspur Way training ground.

Tottenham's head of coaching and player development, John McDermott, told the club's official website: "Words cannot express the shock and sadness that we all feel at the Club. Ugo's immense presence will be irreplaceable. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his wife Gemma and his family."

Born in Homerton, east London, Ehiogu started out on the road toward becoming a professional at Senrab Football Club, the local team which also counts Ray Wilkins, Bobby Zamora, Jermain Defoe, Sol Campbell and John Terry among its former players.

It was, though, at West Bromwich Albion where the young defender would come through the ranks, before joining Aston Villa in 1991 and going on the win two League Cups during his nine years at the club.

He would become a cult figure at Villa Park, inheriting the No. 5 shirt vacated by Paul McGrath and going on to make more than 300 appearances, one of which was in the 2000 FA Cup final loss to Chelsea.

Middlesbrough paid a then club-record £8 million for the defender in November 2000 and Ehiogu teamed up with former Villa player Gareth Southgate at the Riverside Stadium, winning another League Cup again in 2004 with victory over Bolton in Cardiff.

However, continued knee problems would hamper his later career, which took in Leeds, Rangers and Sheffield United prior to his retirement in 2009.

International recognition came as Ehiogu scored on his England debut in a 3-0 friendly victory against Spain -- Sven Goran-Eriksson's first game in charge.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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