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Bobby Charlton died accidentally after fall in care home, coroner rules

Bobby Charlton died accidentally after a fall at his Cheshire care home, a coroner has ruled.

The former England and Manchester United footballer collided with a window sill “and possibly a radiator” when he lost his balance after standing up from a chair, the inquest into his death heard. He died five days later at Macclesfield General hospital on 21 October.

The 86-year-old, who was a central part of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team, was living at The Willows in Mobberley, a nursing home for people with dementia, where staff checked Charlton for signs of injury after the fall.

Initially, he was deemed to be uninjured, but a short time later staff discovered swelling on Charlton’s back and he was taken to hospital. An X-ray and CT scan found fractures to his ribs, making him likely to develop pneumonia, and he was later put on end of life care.

A coroner’s document seen by the PA Media news agency read: “Retired Manchester United legendary footballer Sir Bobby Charlton was admitted to Macclesfield Hospital at the age of 86 following a fall at his care home on 16 October, 2023.

“He sustained rib fractures as he stood up and fell against a window sill due to being unsteady on his feet.

“He had resided at The Willows since July 2023, initially for respite, and last two months of life.

“He continued to mobilise as usual following the fall until it was noted that he had swelling to his back.

“He was examined by the home’s GP and transported to hospital, where he was placed on end-of-life care and sadly passed away on 21 October 2023 at 03:50 hours.”

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The coroner, Jacqueline Devonish, concluded Charlton’s death was accidental, caused by trauma in the lungs, his fall and dementia.

Charlton was a popular and beloved player, having been pivotal to the 1966 England squad’s World Cup victory.

He played in United’s first team for 17 years, with whom he won three league titles, a European Cup and an FA Cup.

A memorial service will be held at Manchester Cathedral on 13 November, which will include a procession past Old Trafford where fans have already laid tributes. More than 80,000 fans have also signed a condolence book in Charlton’s memory.

Manchester United said in a statement: “The service will pay tribute to Sir Bobby’s incredible life as a husband, father, grandfather and, of course, as one of the finest footballers this country has ever produced.

“The procession to the cathedral will pass by Old Trafford for a moment of reflection and provide an opportunity for fans to say a final farewell to a true Manchester United legend.

“Further details on the memorial service and the procession will be communicated in due course.

“The family will then hold a private funeral ceremony for Sir Bobby and have requested privacy around the arrangements for this.”