Gary Speed is widely-regarded as one of Wales’s best footballers of all time. He inspired many of those around him, and is highly revered.

However, Speed had his demons. In November 2011, Speed tragically passed away after taking his own life. He was just 42.

Football Career

Speed was born in September 1969, and played for many teams in his footballing career. His career started with Leeds United in 1988, and finished with Sheffield United in 2010.

Speed won the First Division title in 1992, and became the first player to make 500 appearances in the Premier League in 2006.

Moreover, Speed played 85 times for Wales. He was regarded as a legend for the national team, despite having played for them at a time where they had little success.

He took over as manager of Sheffield United in September 2010, but left to manage Wales in December 2010. In his first year in charge, Speed oversaw a marked increase in the quality of the team’s performance, earning him great praise,

Unfortunately, Speed wasn’t able to continue his great work in football. But his legacy with Wales is felt, with the nation eventually going onto play in major tournaments.

Sudden passing

On 26th November, Speed was a guest on the BBC show Football Focus. After watching a match, Speed left the area at 5pm to drive home.

What happened over the next few hours isn’t entirely known. What is known is that Speed took his own life at some point over the next few hours.

At 7am the following morning, Speed was found in the garage of his home by his wife – he had hanged himself. Speed had been married to his partner Louise since 1996.

Speed had some alcohol in his blood, but not enough to cause a person to become incapable of making rational decisions.

He had appeared in normal spirits, having attended a dinner party, where he was said to be acting normally.

When Speed’s passing was announced, there was an outpour of grief from many. Football fans and players alike applauded Speed at the start of games – owing to his influence and how well-liked he was. Many well-known footballers, politicians and sportsmen paid tribute to Speed in the aftermath of his death.

Mental Health

In the aftermath of Speed’s passing, many wondered – “why”? Speed had not showed any signs of ill health. His GP, Dr. Mark Ridgewell, confirmed this.

However, in the time since, many have argued Speed was suffering with Depression. He may have been suffering in silence.

In 2018, Speed’s widow Louise revealed that she found a letter that a 17 year-old Speed had written, in which he said he was depressed, and wished to sleep and never wake up. It seems that his poor mental health had been long-lasting.

Friend and BBC host Dan Walker has spoken about Speed’s passing. He had hosted the show Football Focus alongside Speed on the fateful day that Speed passed away.

Footage of the show initially doesn’t appear to show anything amiss. But upon reflection, the look in Speed’s eyes are rather telling. He looked tired and worn out.

Some have pointed to Speed potentially being a victim of sexual abuse by a former coach – Barry Bennell – who has convicted for serial sex offending against children. If Speed was a victim of this, then he likely would’ve been traumatised. However, despite some reports and accounts to the contrary, the Police found no links between Speed and Bennell.

The inquest into Speed’s death did find that he may not have intended on taking his own life. The coroner believed that there was a chance that Speed was expecting to be found by his wife.


No one truly knows what was going through Gary Speed’s mind in the moments before his death. There are still many unanswered questions, with the lack of answers proving frustrating for his family and fans.

Many believe that poor mental health contributed to his passing. Speed is desperately missed, and will always be considered to be a legend of football.


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