Sheffield 1966 World Cup winner Gordon Banks 'alive and well' after online death hoax

Gordon Banks.
Gordon Banks.

Sheffield World Cup legend Gordon Banks has taken to Twitter to tell fans he is alive and well after he was the subject of an online death hoax.

Reports began circulating yesterday that the Sheffield-born 1966 England goalkeeper had died at the age of 79 from cancer.

But in a series of tweets from his official Twitter account, the story has been branded as a "nasty" hoax and that he is alive and well at home.

The first tweet came as the story circulated across the internet and fans started to pay tribute.

A tweet from the Gordon Banks OBE Twitter feed read: "GORDON IS VERY MUCH ALIVE AND WELL. THE STORY ON THE INTERNET IS A HOAX. HE IS ALIVE AND WELL."

A later tweet urged England legends Gary Lineker and Wayne Rooney to spread the word that the story was a hoax and said: "Gordon is alive and well The nasty rumour online is upsetting for the family HE IS AT HOME AND FINE rt please @GaryLineker @WayneRooney."

And as tributes continued to come in, a third tweet urged more England legends to get the word out, including Gary Neville, David Seaman and current skipper Harry Kane as well as TV and radio broadcaster and football fan Danny Baker.

It said: "He’s alive and kicking -s tory online is a lie Please rt @prodnose (Danny Baker) @England @GNev2 @thedavidseaman @HKane."

The story, published on a site called City Herald, said that Banks had died on Wednesday afternoon "at his home in Sheffield. He was 79."

The report said: "Former England international football goalkeeper, Gordon Banks has died.

"His death was confirmed by his spouse, Ursula, who said the England World Cup-winning goalkeeper battled with kidney cancer for years.

“He lost one kidney to the disease 12 years ago and was on medication with the other kidney affected,” the wife said."

While he revealed in December 2015 that he was suffering from kidney cancer, the footballer has continued to make personal appearances since his diagnosis.

He made 628 appearances during a 15-year career in the Football League, and won 73 caps for his country.

He is regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, was named FWA Footballer of the Year in 1972, and was named FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year on six occasions.

After beginning his career at Chesterfield in March 1953, his crowning glory came in the summer of 1996 when England defeated West Germany 4-2 in the World Cup Final to turn him into a household name and national hero.

He made one of the game's great saves to prevent a Pelé goal in the 1970 World Cup, regarded as one of the best of all-time, but his career was ended in 1972 when a car crash cost him his sight in one eye.

He was born and brought up in Tinsley, later moving to Catcliffe and began his football career with Sheffield Schoolboys.