Bobby Charlton’s family hit by more tragedy two years on from Jack’s sad death
Sir Bobby Charlton’s family has been hit by fresh death and dementia tragedies.
The football icon’s brother Gordon died around a month ago aged 79 after a battle with cancer and dementia. It was the same brutal double-whammy of diseases that afflicted brother Jack before his death in July 2020, aged 85.
We can also reveal the youngest of the Charltons – Tommy, 76 – has also been diagnosed with dementia. It is understood Tommy is in the early stages of the degenerative illness.
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Sir Bobby, who won the 1966 World Cup alongside Jack, was so ill with advanced dementia that the 85-year-old couldn’t attend Gordon’s farewell.
Jack’s son John, 63, told the Daily Star Sunday: “Gordon died about a month ago, of cancer, and he had dementia. Tommy, who is the youngest brother – he’s got dementia.
“Bobby was too unwell to go, but my mother went. It’s never nice when anybody dies – it was one of the family.”
He added: “As long as we’re still around, my dad will be spoken about.”
Speaking from his home in Cambois, Northumberland, John spoke about Gordon’s death and the dementia that has now hit all four Charlton siblings.
He backs the drive for more research into a link between headers and dementia. But he stressed there is a lack of solid evidence linking headers to his family’s dementia curse.
He said: “Two of the Charlton brothers never headed a ball.
“The professor who was looking after my dad said that the only way you can have an association between heading and dementia is that there is a test you can do on the brain, but you have to do that when someone’s dead.
“I don’t know about this association of heading the ball (with dementia) and I still haven’t seen any proof or concrete evidence that there is such a thing.
“My dad was 85, and, yes, he had dementia, but that wasn’t what killed him.”
John added: “My dad headed the ball a lot. Bobby only headed it a small amount. Gordon would have headed it a little bit, but Tommy never played.
“It’s not the dementia that kills most people with it – it’s the effects of other things. My dad had dementia, but he died of lymphoma.”
There has been widespread speculation Jack’s dementia was linked to his repeated football headers – with several of England’s ’66 World Cup winning squad having been diagnosed with and died from neurodegenerative diseases.
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