Soccer legend George Best finally lost his battle for life at the Cromwell Hospital in London just before 1:00pm on Friday. At one stage during the week he was taken off the ventilator and, for a short time, appeared to have regained consciousness but by Wednesday night had deteriorated again. At lunchtime on Thursday his doctor conceded that the Belfast-born star had only hours to live. Professor Roger Williams told waiting journalists, "I am afraid that Mr Best is coming to the end of the long road of his ill-health".
When the time came he was in the company of his son Calum, his 87-year-old father Dickie and at least one of his sisters. The news that he had died was given to waiting reporters by Calum who said that not only had he lost his father but, "We have all lost a wonderful man". Floral tributes, football jerseys, flags, scarves and other memorabilia quickly appeared outside the hospital, at Old Trafford in Manchester, outside Belfast City Hall and outside Belfast's Windsor Park. Books of condolence were opened at the Manchester United football ground, at Belfast City Hall and in Castlereagh.
When I saw you you looked like a diamond
as you played in the dust and the grime
Just a boy from the country of Ireland
But I knew I could make you shine
Now you move like a downtown dancer
With your hair hung down like a mane
And your feet play tricks like a juggler
as you weave to the sound of your name
Georgie Georgie they call you Belfast Boy
Georgie Georgie You are Belfast's joy.