English Premier League club Leicester City has confirmed that its owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, a Thai billionaire based in London, died in the helicopter crash on Saturday night. There were four other persons on board the chopper that developed a mechanical failure moments after taking off from the club’s King Power Stadium in Leicester and crashed in a parking lot next to it around 8.30 pm BST.
The four were two members of Srivaddhanaprabha’s staff, the pilot and another passenger, the club said on Sunday night .
“It is with the deepest regret and a collective broken heart that we confirm our chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was among those to have tragically lost their lives on Saturday evening when a helicopter carrying him and four other people crashed outside King Power Stadium,” Leicester City said in a statement.
The club described the chairman as a “a man of kindness, of generosity and a man whose life was defined by the love he devoted to his family and those he so successfully led”.
— Leicester City (@LCFC) October 28, 2018
According to the statement, a book of condolences will be opened at the King Power Stadium at 8 am on Tuesday.
READ | Who was Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha? 6 facts about the Thai billionaire
Srivaddhanaprabha often flew to and from the Leicester stadium for home games. His helicopter landing on the middle of the pitch to ferry him was a familiar sight.
Leicester City had a match West Ham United on Saturday night, which they drew 1-1. The crash occurred around an hour later.
Eyewitnesses saw how the helicopter crashed to the ground with a loud noise and turning into a giant ball of fire, seconds after clearing the 25 metre high stadium walls.
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was popular among fans who are visibly distraught after the news. They set up a makeshift memorial for the owner even before an official confirmation was made that he was indeed on the flight.
READ | Fans in shock after Leicester City helicopter crash
Srivaddhanaprabha also owned Oud-Heverlee Leuven, a Belgian second-division team.
On Sunday morning, a shirt displaying the badges of Leicester City and Oud-Heverlee Leuven was propped up against the King Power Stadium, along with a framed photograph of Hindu deity Ganesh and some flowers.
Srivaddhanaprabha bought Leicester City for $57 million in 2010. In 2014, the club was promoted to the Premier League, and it won the premiership in 2016 after going into the season with odds of 5,000-1 to win.
Srivaddhanaprabha was No. 388 on the Forbes’ billionaires list, with a net worth of $4.9 billion.
(With agency inputs)