LIVERPOOL's legendary ex-manager Gerard Houllier has died aged 73.
The Frenchman passed away overnight, with the cause of death yet to be confirmed.
L'Equipe journalist Vincent Duluc says Houllier 'underwent aortic aneurysm surgery 3 weeks ago and was discharged from Paris hospital & returned home on Sunday'.
He is believed to have sent a text message last weekend which said: “I am struggling, but I am going to come out of this.”
He leaves behind his wife Isabelle Houllier , his two boys and grandchildren.
Houllier famously led the Anfield giants to the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup treble in 2001.
In October of that same year, he underwent emergency heart surgery after falling ill on the bench during a Premier League fixture against Leeds United.
Houllier was rushed to hospital for an emergency operation due to the discovery of a heart condition, an aortic dissection.
He returned to the touchline five months later and led Liverpool to a second place finish in the 2002 season.
Houllier left the Reds in 2004 and was replaced by Rafa Benitez.
He returned to management a year later back in his homeland at Lyon.
And he headed back to England in 2010 to take charge of Aston Villa.
But that spell at Villa Park was cut-short due to illness and forced him to step-down from his role after just nine months.
Houllier also managed Lens and Paris Saint-Germain at club level and he was boss of the French national team between 1992 and 93.
He arrived at Anfield as joint-manager with Roy Evans in 1998 but took sole charge that November.
In addition to the to treble, Houllier also won another League Cup and the European Super Cup with the Reds.
A host of star names have taken to Twitter to pay tribute to the late star, including ex-Liverpool players Steven Geerard, Michael Owen and Jamie Carragher plus England legend Gary Lineker:
A post shared by Steven Gerrard (@stevengerrard)
A post shared by Robert Keane (@robbiekeane)
A post shared by Sami Hyypiä (@samihyypia4)
Former English teacher Houllier had an insignificant playing career in France's lower leagues but began coaching in 1973.
His first big job came with Lens, where he impressed enough to land a contract at PSG.
After becoming assistant France manager in 1988, he was promoted in 1992, but his unsuccessful period in charge ended as he resigned after failing to qualify for the 1994 World Cup.
Back in 2011, Houllier revealed how Isabelle was instrumental in him quitting football.
He said: “I just had my first summer off in years, and spent it with my wife, two sons and my grandchildren. Your health has to come before everything.”
“It seems my vessels, my arteries, are probably weaker than the ordinary man.
“The heart is fine, strong, but the arteries are my weak point and stress can expose that weakness.”
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