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Aberdeen great Neale Cooper loses fight for life after fall

The ex-footballer was rushed to hospital after the incident in Bucksburn, Aberdeen on Sunday.

Football: Neale Cooper won the Cup Winner's Cup with Abderdeen in 1983.
Football: Neale Cooper won the Cup Winner's Cup with Abderdeen in 1983. SNS

Aberdeen legend Neale Cooper has died after suffering a fall in a block of flats.

The Gothenburg Great was in a critical condition following the incident at Ferguson Court in Bucksburn, Aberdeen, around 1.45am on Sunday.

But the ex-footballer, who was 54, lost his fight for life in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary on Monday afternoon.

Earlier detectives launched an appeal to trace a taxi driver who dropped off Cooper, minutes before he suffered the fall.

Police have stressed there are no suspicious circumstances.

But officers are keen to speak to the driver who picked up the Cooper, along with another man and two women, around 12.30am on Sunday at Union Street, near Chapel Street.

All four were dropped at Ferguson Court.

The alarm was raised a short time after reports Cooper had collapsed within a communal stairwell.

Detective Inspector David Howieson said: "There are no apparent suspicious circumstances however inquiries are continuing to establish how the man came to be injured.

"We would appeal for the driver of a taxi, described as a black people carrier, which picked the four people up at Union Street in Aberdeen in the early hours of Sunday, to contact us on 101.

"The taxi driver is described as speaking with a local accent and had a beard.

"Anyone with information which may help our enquiries is asked to get in touch."

Cooper lifted the European Cup Winners' Cup and European Super Cup with the Dons in 1983.

The midfielder also won two Premier Division titles, four Scottish Cups and the League Cup with Aberdeen.

Cooper came through the ranks at Pittodrie during Sir Alex Ferguson's time as manager.

He also played for Rangers, Dunfermline and Ross County in Scotland, as well as turning out for Aston Villa and Reading south of the border.

After his playing career was over Cooper became a manager and started his career in the dugout with Ross County.

He went on to manage Hartlepool United twice, Gillingham and Peterborough in the English lower leagues.

Cooper's former club Dunfermline FC tweeted: "Everyone at DAFC is extremely saddened to hear of the passing of former player Neale Cooper. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.

Current Aberdeen forward Adam Rooney tweeted: "Shocking to hear of the passing of Neale Cooper. Legend of a guy, always laughing and joking! Thoughts with his family. RIP!"

In a statement, Celtic Football Club said: "Everyone at Celtic Football Club is shocked and saddened to hear of the death of former Aberdeen player, Neale Cooper, who has sadly passed away at the age of just 54.

"Neale was rightly considered an Aberdeen legend, having played his part in the success that the club enjoyed under Alex Ferguson back in the 1980s, most memorably in winning the European Cup-Winners' Cup in 1983 with a victory over Real Madrid in Gothenburg. 

"He also won two Scottish league titles, four Scottish Cups and the League Cup with the Dons.

"He enjoyed spells with Aston Villa and Rangers before returning to Aberdeen for a year. He then played for Reading, Dunfermline and Ross County before he moved into management, most notably with Ross County between 1996 and 2002.

"The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Celtic are with Neale's family and friends at this very sad time."

Aberdeen Football Club said in a statement: "The club is deeply shocked and saddened to hear that our legendary midfielder and Gothenburg Great, Neale Cooper has tragically passed away."

Detective Inspector David Howieson said: "Our thoughts are with the man's family at this very sad time.

"Our enquiries are still ongoing however the circumstances surrounding this incident do not appear to be suspicious.

"A report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal as is the case with all sudden deaths."

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