Former Barcelona head coach Tito Vilanova has passed away at the age of 45 after losing his battle with cancer.
A statement on Barcelona’s Twitter account confirmed on Friday afternoon: “The FC Barcelona is in immense mourning. Tito Vilanova has died at the age of 45. May he rest in peace”.
Vilanova was forced to step down from his position as Barcelona head coach, despite winning the La Liga title in his one and only season in charge, after suffering a cancer relapse in July 2013.
He had also undergone surgery and chemotherapy after suffering a previously relapse in December 2012.
Vilanova - a former midfielder who played for the likes of Celta, Mallorca and Elche during his playing career - worked as Pep Guardiola’s assistant during the most successful four years in the club’s history.
He was then handed the reins at the Camp Nou on a full-time basis for the 2012/13 campaign after Guardiola left the club to take a one-year sabbatical.
Mundo Deportivo broke the news, signing off with the following: “With the death of Tito the Barcelona fans and football lose a single professional, esteemed and admired that history will remember as an outstanding fighter and a winner.”