Former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell dies aged 54

  • Campbell was a prominent Premier League player during 1990s and early 2000s
  • Everton's Premier League status preserved by Campbell during vintage loan spell
  • Striker had become successful broadcaster and pundit after retiring
Campbell pictured in 1993 while playing for Arsenal
Campbell pictured in 1993 while playing for Arsenal / Allsport UK/Allsport

Former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell has died at the age of 54.

Campbell started his career at Arsenal in 1988 and went on to play over 200 games for the club in all competitions, often partnering the legendary Ian Wright up front.

He joined Nottingham Forest in 1995 and spent three years at the City Ground before heading off to Turkey for a brief spell with Trabzonspor. He returned to the Premier League during the 1998/99 season, and famously helped Everton stave off relegation by scoring nine goals in an sensational eight-game loan spell.

A permanent move followed, which saw Campbell spend a further six years at Goodison Park, before winding down his career with West Bromwich Albion.

"We are devastated to learn that our former striker Kevin Campbell has died after a short illness. Kevin was adored by everyone at the club," an Arsenal statement read: "All of us are thinking of his friends and family at this difficult time. Rest in peace, Kevin."

Everton said of Campbell's death: "Not just a true Goodison Park hero and huge fans' favourite, Kevin was the Blues' first black captain and also an incredible person, as anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him would know."

Everton v West Ham Kevin Campbell
Campbell's goals kept Everton in the Premier League / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

The club added: "Kevin played a total of 164 games for the Toffees, scoring 51 goals and he was the Club’s leading marksman in three seasons.

"His contribution to Everton Football Club, however, extends way beyond statistics. One of the most popular men to ever wear the royal blue jersey, he remains an icon amongst Evertonians and was the perfect ambassador who always thoroughly enjoyed returning to Goodison Park in a media capacity or to cheer on the Toffees as a fan. 

Former Nottingham Forest teammate Mark Crossley posted on social media: "Life can be so cruel at times Absolutely devastated with news of my ex-Forest teammate Kevin Campbell's passing, a true gentleman, a great player, a shining light of a dressing room, fun-loving guy, thoughts are with all his family and friends. RIP mate."

Campbell went on to forge a career as a broadcaster and pundit, working for both Sky Sports and talkSPORT.