Lady Cathy Ferguson, the wife of football icon Sir Alex Ferguson, has died at the age of 84.
The legendary former Manchester United manager announced in a family statement on Friday that his wife of 57 years had sadly passed away.
A statement on behalf of the Ferguson family said: “We are deeply saddened to confirm the passing yesterday of Lady Cathy Ferguson, survived by her husband, three sons, two sisters, 12 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. The family asks for privacy at this time.”
Sir Alex met Lady Cathy in 1964 when he was 23 years old.
They married shortly after in 1966 and have three sons, Mark, Jason and Darren, who is the manager of Peterborough United.
Sir Alex led United to 38 major trophies in a glorious 26-year spell in charge of the Premier League giants.
A statement from the club said: “Everyone at Manchester United sends our heartfelt condolences to Sir Alex Ferguson and his family on the passing of Lady Cathy.
“Lady Cathy was a beloved wife, mother, sister, grandmother and great-grandmother, and a tower of strength for Sir Alex throughout his career.”
He retired in May 2013, citing his desire to spend more time with his wife as the reason for stepping away from the game.
Upon his retirement, Fergie said: “My wife Cathy has been the key figure throughout my career, providing a bedrock of both stability and encouragement. Words are not enough to express what this has meant to me.”
Cathy was instrumental in convincing Ferguson to reverse his decision to retire in 2002, and he went on to manage the club for a further 11 years before eventually calling time after the death of Cathy’s sister, Bridget.
When interviewed in the documentary ‘Sir Alex Ferguson: Never Give In’, Cathy revealed that Sir Alex took her to the cinema on their first date.
“He bought me a box of liquorice allsorts at the movies, of which he ate all of them, and a local paper when we came out. That was my romantic day.
“We got married in Glasgow registry office in 1966 and that was the start. I went to my work and he went to his football.”