Leicester City confirms chairman dies in helicopter crash

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Leicester City confirms chairman dies in helicopter crash
FIEL - In this May 7, 2016, file photo, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha applauds beside the trophy as Leicester City celebrate becoming the English Premier League soccer champions at King Power stadium in Leicester, England. Thai billionaire and Leicester City owner Srivaddhanaprabha, who died when his helicopter crashed in a parking lot next to the soccer club's stadium, was known to fans as a smiling, benevolent man who gave away free beers and hot dogs on his birthday and brought the club its fairytale English Premier League title in 2016. He was 60. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

London:  English Premier League club Leicester City has confirmed that their Thai Chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, along with other four people on board, had been killed when his helicopter crashed on Saturday.

“It is with the deepest regret and a collective broken heart that we confirm our Chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was among those to have tragically lost their lives on Saturday evening when a helicopter carrying him and four other people crashed outside King Power Stadium. None of the five people on-board survived,” the club announced in a statement, reports Xinhua news agency.

“The primary thoughts of everyone at the club are with the Srivaddhanaprabha family and the families of all those on-board at this time of unspeakable loss,” it said.

“Leicester City was a family under his leadership. It is as a family that we will grieve his passing and maintain the pursuit of a vision for the club that is now his legacy.”

According to the statement, a book of condolence, which will be shared with the Srivaddhanaprabha family, will be opened at King Power Stadium on Tuesday for supporters wishing to pay their respects.

Both Tuesday’s First Team fixture against Southampton in the EFL Cup and the Development Squad fixture against Feyenoord in the Premier League International Cup have been postponed, it said.

Srivaddhanaprabha bought the club for $57 million in 2010 and it was promoted to the Premier League in 2014. In 2016, the club achieved the once-unthinkable feat of winning the premiership.

It went into the 2015-2016 season with odds of 5000-1 to win but stunned fans, and bookmakers, by taking the title.

The club’s extraordinary run of success has played out under Srivaddhanaprabha’s ownership. The businessman has won over fans by handing out free beer, water and cupcakes in the stands.