Fairfax Media football columnist Michael Cockerill dies, aged 56

Fairfax Media football columnist Michael Cockerill has died aged 56.

Cockerill, a former Sydney Morning Herald chief football writer and Fox Sports commentator, had reported on football in Australia for more than three decades.

In 2011, he was inducted into the Football Federation of Australia Hall of Honour, for outstanding off-field contributions to football.

Cockerill’s death was publicly announced on Fox Sports on Thursday night.

Tributes have flowed for the “superb” journalist, with friends, colleagues and football players mourning his loss.

On Twitter, the Socceroos said they were “shocked and saddened” to learn of Cockerill’s passing.

Ray Gatt, the chief football writer for The Australian, lamented the loss of “a giant of journalism”.

SBS football commentator and Sun Herald columnist Craig Foster said Cockerill had been a “great servant to the game”.

Robbie Fowler, a legendary former striker for Liverpool FC, said he was thinking of Cockerill’s friends and family.

Fox Sports football commentator Robbie Slater had an emotional tribute to the “greatly-respected” Cockerill, who he described as “a really top man”.

“He was a very, very special person to me,” Slater said.

“I’ve known him since I was 17. It’s a huge shock to me. He was doing the FFA Cup only four weeks ago and he’s been struck down. It happened very, very quickly.”

More to come

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