​Former Aston Villa and West Brom goalkeeper Derek Dudley has died after a battle against liver disease, ​​​the Birmingham Mail have reported.

He passed away aged just 47 surrounded by family at his home on New Year's Eve.

Dudley leaves behind his wife Helen and two children, Daniel (13) and Elizabeth (11).

As a goalkeeper, Dudley spent four years with ​Aston Villa from 1984 to 1988, before going on to play for ​West BromTorquay, Telford, Worcester, Sutton Coldfield Town, Stourbridge, Romulus and Halesowen.

He later became a popular PE teacher at College High, Queen Elizabeth in Atherstone, before his health deteriorated.

Dudley played for Aston Villa Old Stars after his retirement, helping raise £500,000 for a number of different charities.

Hundreds turned out in November for a charity match at Sutton Coldfield Town FC, which helped raise over £8,000 for Dudley's family.

Jonathan Pearson, a close friend of Dudley's, said: “It was a very emotional day. Derek was brought to tears when he saw all the players in the dressing room beforehand.

“The players said it was one of the best atmospheres they have been involved in.”

(You may also be interested in Aston Villa's Steve Bruce Draws Up Shortlist of 3 Premier League Strikers Ahead of Transfer Window)

He added: “It’s with great sadness that I have spoken with Helen and Derek has passed away peacefully. Helen wanted to let us all know but wanted us to celebrate his life.

“Helen is obviously upset and just wanted me to let you all know. Raise a glass tonight for Derek, God bless.”