The late Sir Bobby Charlton is survived by his loyal wife Norma and two daughters.
The Manchester United icon passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning, October 21. Charlton, who was 86, played 758 games and scored 249 goals during 17 years as a United player. He won the European Cup, three league titles and the FA Cup before serving as a club director for 39 years.
Charlton famously won the World Cup with England, scoring 49 goals and winning 106 caps for his country. A constant during most of the highs and lows during his footballing career was Norma (née Ball), whom he reportedly met shortly after he survived the 1958 Munich air disaster.
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The pair are said to have met at a Manchester ice rink in 1959 before getting married two years later. Bobby and Norma went on to have two daughters, Suzanne and Andrea, with the former, who was born in 1962, working as a BBC weather presenter in the 1990s.
It was Norma who permitted Bobby’s battle with dementia to be made public in 2020 as she wanted to highlight the condition. The announcement was made two days after Charlton’s former United and England team-mate Nobby Stiles died following his own battle with the illness.
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A study, led by consultant neuropathologist Dr Willie Stewart of Glasgow University and published in 2019, revealed that former footballers are approximately three-and-a-half times more likely to die from neurodegenerative disease than the general population.
The report, commissioned by the Football Association and the Professional Footballers’ Association, assessed the medical records of 7,676 men who played professional football between 1900 and 1976. Their records were matched against more than 23,000 individuals from the general population.
The study’s findings came 17 years after former England and West Brom striker Jeff Astle died at the age of 59 with what a coroner described as an “industrial injury”. Astle’s daughter Dawn responded to the study’s findings by saying “these players who have suffered dementia must not be a statistic – they must never be forgotten”.
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