Former England manager Graham Taylor dies at the age of 72 of suspected heart attack

Sir Elton John has led tributes to former England and Watford manager Graham Taylor, who has died at the age of 72 of a suspected heart attack.

The star singer, who appointed Taylor twice as Hornets boss during his time as Watford chairman, said: "He was like a brother to me."

A statement issued on behalf of Taylor's family confirmed his death was "sudden" and "totally unexpected".

ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott on Graham Taylor's football legacy:

The former professional footballer made his managerial name by guiding Fourth Division Watford to the then First Division and enjoyed more promotion success at Aston Villa before earning the national team job in 1990.

Sir Elton paid a longer tribute to Taylor on Instagram, while the England team led tributes from within the sport to one of football's best-liked bosses:

He was sacked by England - amid notorious tabloid headlines branding him "Turnip Taylor" - after failing to qualify for the 1994 World Cup.

Taylor re-entered club management at Wolves before return spells at both Watford and Villa until his retirement in 2003, after which he was a regular radio and TV pundit.

As a player he made more than 300 appearances for Grimsby Town and Lincoln City.

After beginning his managerial career at Lincoln, Graham Taylor managed Watford to a series of promotions in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Credit: PA
Taylor's England reign began after Paul Gascoigne had inspired the national team at the 1990 World Cup. Credit: PA
After a disappointing European Championship campaign in 1992, Taylor was tasked with improving the national team's fortunes at the 1994 World Cup. Credit: PA
But the qualification campaign ended in failure as Taylor's time in charge came to an end in 1993. Credit: PA
Taylor, seen with BBC commentator Alan Green, became a familiar voice on radio commentaries following his retirement. Credit: PA