LONDON, England -- Legendary English football manager Brian Clough has died after a battle with stomach cancer.
The 69-year-old, one of the most outspoken and controversial figures in his sport, died on Monday at Derby City Hospital.
Clough won back-to-back European Cup titles, in 1979 and 1980, during an 18-year spell in charge of Nottingham Forest.
He also took Forest, a modest provincial club, to the 1978 English championship and four League Cup titles, after winning the 1972 league title with Forest's local rivals Derby.
"This is a very sad day for everyone connected with Nottingham Forest Football Club," Forest chairman Nigel Doughty said in a statement.
"The success he had here goes down as one of the great football achievements of all time.
"Wherever you go in the world, the city has become synonymous with Robin Hood and Brian Clough and there is no doubt he has touched the lives of so many people in the area."
Clough had suffered poor health in recent years and underwent a liver transplant in January 2003. In an autobiography published last year he admitted that he had been a heavy drinker.
Clough's achievements as a manager overshadowed his earlier career as a prolific striker in his native north-east with Sunderland and Middlesbrough, where he scored 251 goals in 274 games and earned two England caps.
The highlight of his career was Forest's 1-0 win over Malmo in the 1979 European Cup final, an achievement he repeated a year later when Forest beat Hamburg to retain their title.
Taking charge of Forest in 1975 after a disastrous 44-day spell in charge of Leeds, Clough steered them to the English title in 1978 -- their first season after winning promotion from the second division.
Forest's 42-match unbeaten run between November 1977 and December 1978 was only bettered last month by Arsenal.
Clough was brutally blunt about why he never received the highest accolade of being made England manager.
"One reason I never became the England manager was because the FA thought I would take over and run the show........They were dead right," he said.
Football Association chairman Geoff Thompson described Clough's death as "a great loss to the game".
"On behalf of the FA, I would like to express my deepest sadness at the passing away of Brian Clough," said Thompson.
"Brian was a unique figure in the game and one of the most successful managers we have ever known. We will be miss his company, his character and his insight.
"This is a great loss to football, but we will always remember his considerable contribution to the English game."
Derby County added their tribute with chief executive Jeremy Keith saying: "He was this club's greatest ever manager and, in the eyes of Rams supporters, the best the world has ever seen.
"The contribution he made, not just to Derby County, but to the county itself, will remain as a lasting legacy to the man who had made Derby his home for the last 30 years."
Former Forest captain Martin O'Neill, now manager of Celtic, said: "I knew he'd gone through a liver transplant but I thought things were pretty good, so it's a shock to me personally, and I'm very sad to hear that he's gone."