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Speed family 'overwhelmed' by support

The family of Gary Speed have issued a statement thanking the public for their messages of support following the 42-year-old's death on Sunday.

David Beckham pays tribute to Speed

• Gary Speed dead aged 42
• McAllister: No sign of depression
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• Gary Speed profile
• Gary Speed gallery

Speed's agent Hayden Evans - who was also the best man at the former Leeds, Everton, Newcastle and Bolton midfielder's wedding - spoke outside the family's home on Monday, expressing their gratitude for the tributes to Speed but asking for them to now be allowed to grieve in private.

"Gary's family would sincerely like to thank all the people that have sent messages of condolence and tributes in what is a very difficult time," Evans said. "We have been overwhelmed by the support and it really has helped. We would ask that the family are now given the respect of some privacy to just grieve on their own."

The inquest into Speed's death will begin at Warrington Coroner's Court on Tuesday at 1500 GMT, Cheshire Police confirmed.

The Football Association of Wales has set up a book of condolences at its headquarters for mourners to leave their messages for Speed and his family, with chief executive Jonathan Ford admitting the FAW had been inundated with calls and messages.

"We have had hundreds of messages, my phone hasn't stopped with messages from everyone involved or not involved. It has touched everybody.

"We have had messages from family, friends have called, professional people have called, and they have all been heartfelt messages from people who may only have met Gary a couple of times, which showed the mark of the man," Ford said. "He was such a great person and he is such a loss.

"We have a book of condolence available at FAW headquarters and there is an area set aside for fans to leave flowers. Our door is open and we are trying to do everything we can at this terrible, terrible time."

He added: "There will be, I am sure, a fitting tribute at some point in time but for now we are just looking in the short term and anything we can do for (Speed's widow) Louise and the boys."

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