Frank Lampard, Gary Lineker and Didier Drogba have been among those sending best wishes to former England midfielder Ray Wilkins who is reportedly critically ill in hospital following a heart attack.
Wilkins, 61, who had carried out media duties on talkSPORT and Sky Sports over the last week, is understood to have fallen and hit his head after his heart stopped.
He was taken to St George’s Hospital in Tooting, London, where he has been put in an induced coma.
Following the news of Wilkins’ illness, there has been an outpouring of support from former players, with Lampard posting a photo and a message on his Instagram account, with Lineker and Drogba also sending him their best wishes on Twitter.
Ray Wilkins (left), 61, who had carried out media duties on talkSPORT and Sky Sports over the last week, is understood to have fallen and hit his head after his heart stopped
Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba wrote on Instagram: ‘Just found out about the news, be strong Ray Wilkins and family.
‘We blue army are sending you our prayers on this religious day.’
Blues legend Frank Lampard said all his ‘thoughts and strength’ were with Wilkins, describing him as an ‘absolute Gentleman’ in an Instagram post of his own.
His anxious wife Jackie said: ‘He’s in hospital, he’s had a cardiac arrest and is in intensive care.
‘He is not in a good state at all, I’m afraid. He’s critically ill. The cardiac arrest led to a fall which has meant he’s had to be put in an induced coma. It’s very, very bad,’ she told the Daily Mirror.
Ray’s son Ross Wilkins added on Friday night: ‘I hope everyone can respect the family’s wishes over privacy at this very difficult time for us. It’s touch and go whether my father will get through this.’
Frank Lampard (left), Gary Lineker (right) and Didier Drogba have been among those sending best wishes to former England midfielder Ray Wilkins who is reportedly critically ill in hospital following a heart attack
Blues legend Frank Lampard said all his ‘thoughts and strength’ were with Wilkins, describing him as an ‘absolute Gentleman’ in an Instagram
Gary Lineker wished Ray well and said: ‘Thoughts are with Ray Wilkins and his family’
The decorated former England international has been put in an induced coma in hospital (pictured: Ray Wilkins of England and Mustafa Merry of Morocco in action during the 1986 FIFA World Cup)
Ruud Gullit, who crossed paths with Wilkins at both Milan and Chelsea, tweeted a photo of the midfielder in his Milan kit, with the message: ‘Stay strong my friend’
Wilkins, who has bravely battled poor health including ulcerative colitis over the last few years, was given the all clear after a double heart bypass operation last July.
Two years ago he checked into the Priory Hospital in Woking for a five-week rehabilitation programme after being banned from driving for four years for drink-driving.
Yet the popular former Chelsea, Manchester United and AC Milan midfielder has continued to work in the media on a regular basis and is held in the highest regard by everyone in football.
Ruud Gullit, who crossed paths with Wilkins at both Milan and Chelsea, tweeted a photo of the midfielder in his Milan kit, with the message: ‘Stay strong my friend’.
A winner of 84 England caps, he became the fourth player sent off while playing for his country when he was dismissed during the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico in a game against Morocco.
Messages of support for Ray Wilkins have been flooding in ever since the news of his illness
Wilkins – known in the game by his childhood nickname ‘Butch’ – played for 12 sides and was on the coaching staff of several more, but is commonly associated with Chelsea.
The club tweeted after hearing about his heart attack.
Chelsea urged Wilkins to ‘keep fighting’, tweeting: ‘The thoughts of everybody at Chelsea Football Club are with Ray Wilkins and his family tonight.’
The club added: ‘Keep fighting Ray, you have our love and support.’
Another of Wilkins’ former sides QPR said it was ‘extremely saddened’ by the news. ‘All our prayers are with you, Ray,’ the club tweeted on Friday night.
Wilkins pictured playing for Manchester United as he tries to tackle Diego Maradona in 1984
The 61-year-old with his wife Jackie and their son Ross posing for a family photo with the FA Cup in 1983
Wilkins (left), pictured right playing against Holland, made 84 appearances for England. During his career he also played overseas and represented AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain (left)
He captained his country 10 times, and went on to manage QPR, Fulham and Jordan.
He has also been an assistant boss at Chelsea for three spells, and took over as caretaker manager when Luiz Felipe Scolari was sacked in February 2009.
He went on to work with Guus Hiddink at Stamford Bridge and remained as assistant manager when Carlo Ancelotti took over in 2009. Wilkins left the club in November 2010.
Ancelotti wrote in his 2010 autobiography: ‘Ray is one of those select few, always present, noble in spirit, a real blue-blood.
‘Chelsea flows in his veins — without him we wouldn’t have won a thing.’
The 61-year-old was taken to St George’s Hospital in Tooting, London , where he has been put in an induced coma
After retiring from the game, Wilkins went on to manage QPR, Fulham and Jordan (pictured)
Wilkins has been an assistant at Chelsea three times as well as the club’s caretaker manager