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Former Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova dies aged 45

Updated: Friday, 25 Apr 2014 21:15 | Comments

Tito Vilanova (b 17 September 1968 - d 25 April 2014)
Tito Vilanova (b 17 September 1968 - d 25 April 2014)

Former Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova has died following a battle with cancer that forced him to stand down at the end of last season, 

Vilanova, a former midfielder who spent his playing career largely in the Spanish second division, was Pep Guardiola's assistant for four years at the Nou Camp, the pair having previously worked together with the B team.

"Thank you for everything you taught us. Rest in peace." - FC Barcelona

As Guardiola's assistant, he was present during the most successful period in the club's history - the side winning three out of four La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues in 2009 and 2011.

Vilanova took over the top job at the Nou Camp ahead of the 2012-13 season. 

After taking over, Barca went on to make the best-ever start to a La Liga season, with 18 wins from 19 games but in December 2012 Vilanova was diagnosed with cancer for the second time.
              
It meant that his assistant Jordi Roura was forced to take charge of the team on occasions when he was undergoing treatment.

Vilanova was away from the team between December and late March as he underwent surgery, but still won the La Liga title before resigning in July last year.
              
At the time he announced that he was resigning to concentrate on his recovery from the illness. This afternoon Vilanova lost his battle with the disease.

Barcelona said in a statement: "The club expresses their deepest condolences over the passing of Tito Vilanova , who died today in Barcelona at the age of 45."

"Tito Vilanova was a wonderful person, and will never be forgotten at FC Barcelona. Thank you for everything you taught us. Rest in peace."

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