Former Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd has died, aged 75, his family have announced in a statement.
A pivotal figure at St James' Park during the club's rise during the 1990s, he was chairman for ten years from 1997.
Shepherd eventually sold his share of the club to Mike Ashley and recently, along with brother Bruce, was granted the freedom of the city of Newcastle.
"Freddy Shepherd, former chairman of Newcastle United and chairman of Shepherd Offshore Group and Triple S Sports & Entertainment Group, sadly passed away peacefully at his home last night," his family said in a statement.
"At this difficult time the family have asked that their privacy be respected."
A director of the Magpies from 1992 until 2007, Shepherd served as vice-chairman to Sir John Hall as the club finished Premier League runners-up in both 1996 and 1997, playing a key role in signing Alan Shearer from Blackburn for a world-record £15million.
The former Newcastle striker posted on Twitter. "So sad to hear my great friend and former @nufc chairman Freddy Shepherd has passed away. I owe him a huge debt for bringing me home. RIP."
Shepherd became Newcastle chairman in 1997 and oversaw several dalliances with the Champions League, while his decision to appoint Sir Bobby Robson saw United finish as high as third in 2003.
Born and bred in the north east, Shepherd was the owner and managing director of the Shepherd Offshore Group for more than 40 years.
He set up the Triple S group in 2008 but is best known for his influential role at St James' Park.
The funeral of former Newcastle United chairman Freddy Shepherd will be open to all supporters, his family have confirmed. Freddy, who played a huge role in the club’s modern history, sadly passed away at home on Monday 25th September aged 75. The funeral will be held at 12pm on Saturday 7th October at St. George’s Church, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne (NE2 2TF). Any supporters or members of the public wishing to attend the service should arrive no later than 11am, when any additional space will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Members of the public unable to enter the church will be able to listen to the service outside, where it will be broadcast via loudspeaker. Only family flowers are requested at the church but donations in memory of Freddy would be gratefully received at St. George’s Church for The Road to Recovery Trust. To find out more about the charity or to make an online donation, please visit www.justgiving.com/roadtorecoverytrust.