Sheffield Wednesday revealed on Friday that Steve Adams, who played for Doncaster Rovers in the 1980s, had died age 57.
The Owls fan was a former community programme manager at the club, and made his battle with cancer public in 2012.
Posting on Twitter, Helen Moxon wrote that she was 'proud' to say she was Steve's partner, adding: "One unique and awesome man."
Tributes have also been paid on The Star's Facebook page.
Sue Wells said: "RIP Steve Adams, you were an inspiration to all the children you coached and a fun guy to have around. Reignhead School benefited from your many visits."
Claire Bourne wrote: "Thoughts are with the family. My son and daughter were both lucky enough to have been part of Steve's football camps.
"Very funny, encouraging and supportive man. His spirit will live on in all those young people booting a ball around Sheffield knowing that the best bit of football is just getting out there and giving it a go."
Marina Haddon said it was 'such a loss'.
She added: "My little boy wasn't good at football and was often teased about it. He met Steve and he was superb.
He encouraged my boy, cheered him along, was strict with the youngsters and installed manners and respect.
"He would text me afterwards making sure my boy was OK and enjoying things. True gent - lots of love to his family."
Dean Jarvis said: "An absolute travesty to lose such a kind-hearted man.
"He did exactly what he loved ... football. The storyies he would tell about his playing days would be told with as much enthusiasm as he taught the kids.
"You're a top man Steve and you'll be missed my more than you could imagine mate."
Morgan Attwell wrote: "Massive respect to this great man. He gave me the confidence to run and shoot with both my right and left feet when I was in primary school.
"He gave me confidence and always pushed me and congratulated me. RIP to one incredible man."
And Julie Roberts said: "Top man I've known for years - had so many laughs.
"He always had time to have a chat. Battled with such dignity .
"The kids loved him, the parents loved him he just had that personality that drew people towards him.
"RIP Steve, you are one to remember hun."
Steve's cause of death has not yet been confirmed.
Today’s top stories: