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Former Italy star Chinaglia dies
Former Italy and Lazio striker Giorgio Chinaglia has died aged 65, a work colleague and family friend has confirmed.
Chinaglia, who was born in Italy but grew up in Wales and began his professional career with Swansea, was found dead at 9am US eastern time on Sunday morning by his adopted son Anthony at the home they shared in Florida. He had suffered complications after treatment for a heart problem.
Chinaglia, who represented Italy at the 1974 World Cup and played in a star-studded New York Cosmos team in the late 1970s, leaves a wife, Angela, and five children.
Charlie Stillitano, who hosted a sports programme on satellite radio station Sirius XM alongside Chinaglia and who has been asked to speak on behalf of the family, said: "This morning I heard from his son and we had confirmation that he had passed.
"He was living with Anthony, he had a heart attack around nine days ago. He went in for surgery and they put in four stents, he was doing really well and they thought he was making a full recovery.
"They were going to clear the other artery next month some time but his son found him at 9am this morning and he was already gone."
Chinaglia was part of a Cosmos side which helped to popularise football in the United States in the 1970s, playing alongside Pele and Franz Beckenbauer at the glamorous New York franchise.
Stillitano said he had fielded calls today from Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who had been a guest on the Sirius XM show, United chief executive David Gill, Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay, Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho and former Italy forward Roberto Bettega in response to the news.
Lazio released a statement on their official website offering their condolences to the family of the player, who was born on January 24, 1947 in Carrara, Italy, before moving to Wales.
He began his professional career at Swansea, having spent his formative years in Cardiff. He returned to Italy in 1966, making his breakthrough after signing for Lazio in 1969. He won the Scudetto with the Rome club in 1974 before moving to New York in 1976. He served as Lazio president between 1983 and 1985.
Talking about Chinaglia's time at the Cosmos, Stillitano said: "I recently had dinner with Pele, and he would always say (to Chinaglia), 'Giorgio, I heard you played with Pele', and he would say, 'No, no, Pele played with me'."
No one at Swansea was immediately available for comment.
Date: 2012-04-02 15:03:59