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Sir Bobby Charlton, one of the biggest stars of England's 1966 World Cup winning football team, has been diagnosed with dementia, his wife has and the FA have confirmed.
Lady Norma Charlton confirmed to The Telegraph that her husband was suffering with the illness, and gave consent to reporting on the matter in the hope that knowledge about Sir Bobby's illness would help others.
News of Charlton's diagnosis will no doubt reinforce calls for investigation into dementia as a potential industrial disease amongst footballers, and spark further research into the risk of heading the ball, as well the provision of support for those former players that have dementia.
Two other members of that 1966 squad, Martin Peters and Ray Wilson, have died from dementia in the past two years.
Charlton is regarded as one of the greatest ever footballers, and during his stellar career he made more than 600 appearances for Manchester United, winning three First Division titles, as well as one FA Cup and the 1968 European Cup.
However, his career was almost brought to an abrupt end in 1958 when the aeroplane that was carrying the United team home from a European tie in Belgrade crashed in Munich after stopping to refuel.
He was rescued by United's Northern Irish goalkeeper, Harry Gregg.
At international level, Charlton made 106 appearances for England, including featuring in every game as England won the 1966 World Cup at Wembley.
He was later awarded the Ballon d'Or - the award for the best footballer in the world - that year for his performances.
Sir Bobby's brother, Jack - who featured alongside him in that '66 World Cup - died in July, and Nobby Stiles, one of the standout players of the final, died on Saturday.
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