Gerard Houllier, former Liverpool and France manager, dies aged 73 | World News

Former Liverpool and France manager Gerard Houllier has died, according to French media.

The 73-year-old, who also managed Aston Villa, Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon) and Paris St Germain (PSG), passed away after having a heart operation in Paris, L’Equipe said.

Liverpool FC tweeted on Monday: “We are mourning the passing of our treble-winning manager, Gerard Houllier. The thoughts of everyone at Liverpool Football Club are with Gerard’s family and many friends. Rest in peace, Gerard Houllier 1947-2020.”

The club also posted a lengthy tribute on its website, calling Houllier a “revolutionary and vital figure in Liverpool’s modern history”.

Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool star Jamie Carragher said on Twitter he had contact with Houllier last month, whom he “loved to bits”, and was “devastated” at the passing of a man who changed his game and the club.

Former England striker Michael Owen, who played under Houllier at Liverpool, wrote on Twitter: “Absolutely heartbroken to hear that my old boss, Gerard Houllier, has sadly passed away. A great manager and a genuinely caring man.”

Gary Lineker, who played for Merseyside rivals Everton, called him one of the “smartest, warmest and loveliest people in football”.

Liverpool’s record goal scorer Ian Rush called him “a true gentleman”.

The Frenchman, who had a long history of heart problems, initially joined the club as a joint manager with Roy Evans in 1998, an unusual experiment that proved unsuccessful.

In November that year, Evans left the club and Houllier took sole charge of the team.

His lasting achievement came in 2001, when the Reds won a treble of League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup (now the Europa League) as well as finishing third in the Premier League, which was then known as the Premiership.

But just a few months later, in October, he was taken ill at a game with Leeds and rushed to hospital for an emergency operation after doctors discovered he had a heart condition known as an aortic dissection.

He returned to the dugout five months later and guided the side to second in the league, at the time their highest Premiership finish.

Houllier was sacked in 2004 after failing to build on the progress he had made.

Returning to France, he coached Olympique Lyonnais to back-to-back league titles before quitting in 2007 and later had a short spell back in England with Aston Villa.

Before his time at Anfield, he managed the French national side.

Appointed in 1992, he quit the following year after failing to get the team to the 1994 world cup finals, despite having talents such as Eric Cantona and David Ginola at his disposal.

Prior to that, he started in youth level coaching in France before taking Paris St Germain to the French league title in 1986, a year after being appointed, and later becoming France’s technical director.

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