Tragedy as footballer with 'famous pals all over the world' dies after ten-year health battle

Tom Stevenson was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in October 2013 Credit: BPM Media

A much-loved former footballer has died following a decade-long health battle.

Tom Stevenson was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in October 2013 and made it his mission to raise awareness of the condition.In 2014, it was reported the dad-of-two had celebrity friends "all over the world".

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, comedian John Bishop and former Aston Villa captains Gareth Barry and Stiliyan Petrov were among those who supported his 'Global4Stevo' initiative.

The latter also played in a charity match to support him following his diagnosis.

Tom Stevenson Credit: BPM Media

At the time, Tom had come up with the idea of creating bright orange t-shirts to increase knowledge of MND.

The boyhood Villa fan from Sutton Coldfield even put a map of the world on his website marking the far-flung locations his t-shirts had been snapped.His former clubs included Solihull Borough and Boldmere St Michaels, which he captained.

Tamworth Football Club confirmed his sad passing.A club spokesperson said: "We were saddened to hear of the death of former Lambs player Tom Stevenson, who tragically lost his life from Motor Neurone Disease yesterday.

"Tom was with the Lambs for three seasons from 2001 to 2003 stepping up to make four appearances and six substitute appearances."Tom went on to play for Bedworth United, Solihull Borough, Racing Club Warwick, Orange County Blue Star (USA) before signing Boldmere St Michaels.

"He was the Boldmere Captain and he achieved considerable success there. He skippered the Mikes in the third of their hat-trick of Walsall Senior Cup wins, proudly lifting the trophy at Bescot Stadium.

"We send our deepest condolences and prayers to Tom’s family and friends at this sad time."Tom worked at PSR Solutions, a construction and built environment recruitment firm.

Managing Director John Berks said the former non-league hero had "remained resilient and displayed incredible strength and bravery throughout his journey".

John said: "Stevo, our dear friend and colleague, taught us the true meaning of strength as he faced the daily challenges of MND with unwavering resolve and determination.

"He had a magnetic quality to his personality and in the time we were fortunate to spend with him he would bring laughter to those around him, light up any room that he entered and he was always ready for a good wind-up even in the face of adversity."Our hearts and thoughts go out to his family, Lian and his children Theo and Orla, who shared his journey and supported him every step of the way.

"May Stevo’s courageous spirit inspire us all to live each day with gratitude, compassion and love for those who matter most.”