Tributes have flooded in as Sheffield United announced the tragic death of midfielder Maddy Cusack at the age of 27.
Cusack played for the women’s side from 2019 and also worked as a marketing executive at the club.
She was the first female player to make 100 appearances for the Blades before her sad passing on Wednesday.
In a statement, Sheffield United CEO Stephen Bettis said: “This is heartbreaking news for everyone at Bramall Lane.
“Maddy had a unique position of being part of a number of teams at Sheffield United and was popular with everyone that she came into contact with.
“Her personality and professionalism made her a credit to her family – she will be sadly missed. Whilst taking in the news and moving forward, the club will offer as much support as possible to Maddy’s family, friends and colleagues.”
The club also added: “Discussions over suitable tributes and celebrating Maddy’s life will continue privately. The club and Maddy’s family would appreciate a period of privacy and will not comment further at this sad time.”
Sheffield United men’s boss Paul Heckingbottom took to X to pay his respects: “Sad day. Maddy was one of our family. A big part of our club both on and off the pitch. Love and thoughts to Maddy’s family.”
The club’s rivals Sheffield Wednesday also paid tribute: “The thoughts of everyone at Sheffield Wednesday are with Maddy’s family, friends and colleagues at this extremely difficult time.”
Sue Campbell, the Football Association’s director of women’s football, said: “We are all devastated to learn about the passing of Maddy Cusack.
“On behalf of the FA, the Lionesses, the Women’s Super League and the Women’s Championship, our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Maddy’s family, friends, teammates and everyone at Sheffield United.
“Maddy also represented England at age-group level and we will pay tribute to her at an appropriate point. We are in contact with the club and will continue to offer them our full support during this incredibly sad time.”
Cusack also played for Birmingham City, with the club saying in a statement: “The club are saddened to learn of the passing of former player Maddy Cusack. All of our thoughts are with Maddy’s family and friends at this extremely difficult time.”