After speculation (and actual reporting that it has happened even though it hadn't), Peter Whittingham has been confirmed to have died at 35.
Might not be a player familiar to everyone, but he started out at Villa playing in the Premier League, before he spent 10 years at Cardiff. I suspect, any fans of other Championship clubs will have been impressed by him and probably on the wrong end of at least one of the 96 goals he scored for the club - a lot of which were crackers. Every week this season they've showed a top 5 goals against the team we are playing and at least 2 a game are from Whittingham,
A player that was instrumental in our crazy few seasons as we reached the FA Cup final, battled for promotion from the Championship for a good few seasons including a play off final loss and then another trip to Wembley to lose the Carling Cup final. A member of the team that finally got promoted during the 'red birds period' and he continued to play for the club after we went back down and turned back Blue.
But it was those earlier seasons where he was something very very special. I'd say the best Championship midfielder to never get a proper run in the Premier League. He scored 3 of the goals in our FA Cup run to the final and 20! in the season that we lost to Blackpool in the play-off final (as good as Charlie Adam was that season - I'd say Whitts was better). The team that year and the one after was the best I've ever seen at Cardiff and I still don't know how we didn't get promoted. The season after the play off final loss as one point we had a midfield of Whittingham, Bellamy and Aaron Ramsey (back on loan) which is ridiculous for the Championship. He was in numerous EFL teams of the season, in the EFL team of the decade and was basically magic and unplayable at times.
He is a true Cardiff legend and on a personal note a player who bridged the gap between watching Cardiff with my Dad and then my son. My Dad mainly stopped going after 20+ years of watching the Bluebirds after we moved from Ninian but watched the first couple of full seasons of Whitts terrorising opposition teams while we were still at the old ground. Sadly, he died before I took my oldest son to a game, but that game saw Whittingham score a last minute penalty as we won 2-1 against Bolton.
I'm gutted, I'm sure all Cardiff fans are gutted (and Villa fans) and to make it worse for everyone we can't honour him on Saturday against Charlton because it won't be played and it looks like it will be a long time before we get to chant his name.