Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright has been among those to pay tribute to Claudio ‘Claude’ Callegari, after the ex-contributor to AFTV died at the age of 58.
Callegari was well known online for his presence on the popular Arsenal YouTube channel, with his views and passionate rants often going viral.
In a statement on Twitter, Callegari’s passing was confirmed by friends and fellow Arsenal supporters Terry and Diesel via the ‘Claude and the Bansta’s account on Tuesday morning.
“We can’t believe we are writing this, with permission from Claude’s father, it is with great sadness and a broken heart that we have to announce that our dear friend and legend Claude sadly passed away yesterday afternoon 29th March,” the announcement read.
“We ask that you please respect the privacy of Claude, his family and friends and be respectful at this extremely sad time.
“RIP dear friend, gone but never be forgotten. Gooner for life.”
Wright paid his respects to Callegari on social media, tweeting: “RIP Claude,” in response to the statement.
Robbie Lyle, the founder and presenter of AFTV, also posted his condolences with a video tribute to Claude on Instagram.
The message read: “R.I.P Claude Callegari | Father, Grand Father, Friend & A Proud Arsenal Fan.
“We are absolutely devastated today to learn of the death of Claude Callegari, one of the channel’s most popular contributors.
“Claude was a much loved figure during his time on the channel and through his passion for Arsenal was able to connect with fans from around the globe on a meaningful level.
“We had continued to privately support Claude during his time away from the channel during the pandemic and the news of his passing comes as a deep shock to everyone at AFTV and in the wider Arsenal community.
“We will not be publishing any content on our platform over the next few days whilst we come to terms with the news of his passing.”
Another regular on the channel, ‘DT’, said: “I honestly don’t know what to say, as a likeminded, passionate, and fiery Arsenal fan we clashed many a time.
“But there were some really good times, he was the Godfather to all of us. I honestly hope you’re at peace now, Claude, thank you for the many fun times together R.I.P.”
‘Troopz’, who was previously on the channel after games, wrote: “You showed me love from the get go, made my misses feel comfortable when she came to events and always shows my kids love.
“I hope you are finally at peace godfather, RIP Legend.”