TRIBUTES have been paid to former Manchester United midfielder Ray Wilkins who has died at the age of 61.

Wilkins, whose other clubs include Chelsea, AC Milan, Paris St Germain and Crystal Palace, was being treated at St George’s Hospital, after suffering a cardiac arrest.

In a statement issued by the hospital on behalf of his family they said: “It is with great sadness we announce that Raymond Colin Wilkins passed away this morning.

“We would like to thank St George’s staff for the amazing work they have done to care for our beloved Ray.

“We would also like to say thank you for the many goodwill messages we have received from Ray’s friends, colleagues, and members of the public."

Ray ‘Butch’ Wilkins is best known in Trafford for the time he spent at Old Trafford, joining the Reds in 1979. The 5ft 8in player became an immediate favourite with fans.

He was with the Reds at a time when honours eluded the team until the replayed FA Cup Final, when they beat Brighton 4-0 and he was able at long last to get his hand’s on a winner’s medal.

Wilkins, who won 84 England caps, was transferred to AC Milan in 1984 after making 160 appearances and scoring seven goals for the Reds.

He later won a league title with another of his clubs Rangers in 1989.

Wilkins had spells as manager of QPR, Fulham and the Jordan national team.

After his playing days were over, he became Chelsea assistant coach from 1998-2000 and then 2008 until 2010, working alongside Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti.

Manchester United FC took to Twitter to tweet: “The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Manchester United are with the family, friends and colleagues of our former midfielder Ray Wilkins, following his tragic passing.”

The club added on its website: "He will always be remembered with real affection by all those who knew him during his five years at Old Trafford. Ray ‘Butch’ Wilkins was the consummate midfielder who possessed brilliant footballing skills and a brain to match.

"He will always be held in high esteem at all the clubs for which he played and in particular Manchester United and Chelsea. He will also command a high place in the all-time list of those who pulled on England’s white shirt adorned with Three Lions."