Ex-Arsenal and Everton striker Campbell dies aged 54

Former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell has died at the age of 54 after a short illness.

Campbell scored 148 goals in 542 appearances across spells with eight clubs during his career.

He won four major trophies with Arsenal and also played for Leyton Orient, Leicester, Nottingham Forest, Trabzonspor, Everton, West Brom and Cardiff.

Campbell made his final appearance as a player in February 2007 before moving into broadcasting.

Everton said earlier this month he became ill in May and was "very unwell" in hospital.

"We are devastated to learn that our former striker Kevin Campbell has died after a short illness," said Arsenal.

"Kevin was adored by everyone at the club. All of us are thinking of his friends and family at this difficult time. Rest in peace, Kevin."

Everton said: "Everyone at Everton is deeply saddened by the death of our former striker Kevin Campbell at the age of just 54.

"Not just a true Goodison Park hero and icon of the English game, but an incredible person as well - as anyone who ever met him will know. RIP, Super Kev."

Kevin Campbell during his time at Arsenal
Campbell won four major trophies during his time at Arsenal [Getty Images]

After coming through Arsenal's youth set-up, Campbell made his senior debut for the club in 1988, also having loan spells with Leyton Orient and Leicester.

He scored nine goals in 22 appearances for the Gunners during their title-winning 1990-91 campaign.

Campbell then helped the London club win the FA Cup and League Cup double in 1993, and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1994.

Forest signed Campbell in the summer of 1995, and he spent three seasons at the City Ground, scoring 22 goals in 39 games during his final term to help the club win promotion to the Premier League.

Following a short stint in Turkey with Trabzonspor, Campbell moved to Everton on loan in March 1999, scoring nine times in their final eight Premier League games to help the Toffees avoid relegation.

He was rewarded with a permanent deal that summer, and stayed for more than five seasons.

Campbell's playing career came to an end with spells at West Brom and Cardiff.

After his death was announced, Campbell's former Arsenal team-mate Ian Wright posted a number of crying emojis on X and images of the pair together.

Adams remembers 'giant' Campbell

Tony Adams - Campbell's former Arsenal team-mate and captain - wrote on X: "Super Kev: a goal machine, a giant of a man, with an even bigger heart.

"An intensely private and a truly wonderful human being. I'm devastated for his loved ones, and all of us. Love you Super Kev, Skipper."

Campbell's former Gunners strike partner Alan Smith told Sky Sports News it was a "tragic day".

"He was ambitious and driven because he wanted and to do well," said Smith.

"You see the photos with his big smile and that was his personality. He was warm-hearted and popular with all the boys."

Smith said Campbell never took his status as a footballer for granted.

"He was a South London boy who made good and always appreciated it," he said. "He carried his work ethic throughout his whole career.

"When you have played with him and shared a dressing room with him, you will not forget him. There will be a lot of ex-team-mates of his who will be very sad today."

Campbell 'a true gentleman'

Forest said they were "deeply saddened" to hear of Campbell's death, and said their thoughts were with his friends and family.

Former Forest goalkeeper Mark Crossley, who played alongside Campbell, said: "Life can be so cruel at times.

"Absolutely devastated with news of my ex-Forest team-mate Kevin Campbell's passing. A true gentleman, a great player, a shining light of a dressing room, fun-loving guy. Thoughts are with all his family and friends. RIP mate."

The official England X account posted: "We are devastated to learn that Kevin Campbell has passed away aged 54.

"Kevin won four caps for our under-21s and represented our B team in the early 1990s. Our thoughts are with Kevin's family, friends and loved ones."

The Professional Footballers' Association said: "RIP Kevin Campbell, who was loved by so many across football and beyond. Our thoughts today are with his family and friends."

Campbell was a member of the Black Footballers' Partnership, which works to increase the voice and influence of black footballers.

"Our condolences to his family and the people of Brixton, Lambeth who have lost one of their greatest sons," they said.

"Kevin meant so much to so many fans across the country - especially Arsenal, Everton, Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City who he played for in his stellar career.

"We are going to miss him dearly. May he rest in eternal peace. We love and will miss you Kevin."

Kevin Campbell during his time at Everton
Campbell scored 83 Premier League goals - the most by any uncapped player [Getty Images]
Kevin Campbell during his time at West Brom
Campbell played for West Brom during the latter part of his career [Getty Images]