The family of former Leeds United defender Gordon McQueen have announced he has been diagnosed with vascular dementia.
The 68 year old spent six years at Elland Road where he struck up a defensive partnership with the late Norman Hunter.
McQueen helped the Whites win the old the First Division in 1974 and played an important role in their run to the European Cup final a year later.
His family said McQueen wonders if his extensive heading of the ball is a factor in his diagnosis.
As a family we felt it was important to let people know, particularly if raising awareness can help others in similar situations. Whilst as a family we've found it hard to come to terms with the changes in dad, he has no regrets about his career and has lived life to the full. But he wants other footballers of today's generation to know there may be risks with persistent heading of the ball
The family added: "We thank everyone in advance for their understanding and hope sharing this news will help dad to face the future in a positive way."
His daughter Hayley later posted on social media that it was 'heartbreaking not to be spending precious time with dad of late' but they were 'trying to stay positive & also raise awareness about vascular dementia as a family.'
McQueen's former Leeds team-mate Jack Charlton died with dementia last year and it was confirmed in recent months that Sir Bobby Charlton has been diagnosed with the disease.
The Football Association is currently supporting two independently led research studies examining former professional players for early signs of neurocognitive degeneration.