Ex-England defender Ugo Ehiogu dies aged 44

Ugo Ehiogu has passed away. Credit: PA

Former Aston Villa and England defender Ugo Ehiogu has died after suffering a cardiac arrest.

The centre-back was best known for his spells at Aston Villa and Middlesbrough, spending most of his career in the Premier League.

Ehiogu, who earned four caps for the national team, was the Under-23 coach at Tottenham.

The 44-year-old suffered a heart-attack at Spurs' training ground on Thursday and died in the early hours of Friday morning.

Ehiogu leaves behind his wife Gemma and a son.

Many in the world of football paid tribute to Ehiogu, including former Villa team-mate Mark Bosnich, as news of the shock death emerged.

Ehiogu scored one goal for England. Credit: PA

Ehiogu won three League Cups during his career, two while with Aston Villa and another when at Middlesbrough.

The defender also enjoyed represented West Brom, Rangers and Sheffield United before retiring in 2009.

He earned his England debut against China in 1996 and scored his one international goal in a 3-0 win over Spain five years later.

After retiring, Ehiogu moved into coaching, including time working for the Football Association before joining Spurs.

Head of Coaching and Player Development at Spurs John McDermott said: "Words cannot express the shock and sadness that we all feel at the Club. Ugo’s immense presence will be irreplaceable. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his wife Gemma and his family."

Ehiogu made his name at Villa Park, representing the club on more than 250 occasions after joining from West Bromwich Albion, as he formed a memorable partnership with the now-England boss Gareth Southgate.

Spurs have announced the postponement of all their academy matches this weekend following Ehiogu's death.

Ugo Ehiogu and Gareth Southgate were a tough match for even the Premier League's best strikers during their late 1990s heyday. Credit: PA

The duo were seen as one of the best centre-back partnerships of the era, something which saw Middlesbrough break their club transfer record to sign Ehiogu for £8million from Aston Villa in 2000.

Southgate joined him in at the North East club a year later.

After retirement, Ehiogu also became involved in the music industry alongside his coaching duties.

He helped set up a record label, Dirty Hit, which boasts the likes of The 1975, Ben Khan, Superfood, Benjamin Francis Leftwich and Fossil Collective.

Ugo Ehiogu was working at Spurs. Credit: PA

Spurs confirmed there would be a minute's applause ahead of their FA Cup semi-final tie with Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday, and both teams would wear black armbands.