Belfast & Northern Ireland

George Best 1946-2005

more than a year ago

Personal strife

Personal problems, and the ongoing battle with alcoholism which was to eventually lead to his untimely death, continued to dominate the headlines.

But George's enduring love for the game kept him involved as a television pundit and continued to bring accolades from his sporting peers, including the 2002 BBC Sports Personality Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sad farewell

George Best died aged 59 on 25 November 2005 at Cromwell Hospital, London, leaving son Calum, dad Dickie, his brother and sisters.

On Saturday 3 December 2005 tens of thousands of mourners lined the streets to watch George Best's funeral cortege make the journey from his family home in East Belfast to the Great Hall at Stormont Parliament Building. Among others, tributes were payed by former teammate Denis Law, his surgeon Professor Roger Williams and son Calum.

Local singers Peter Corry and Brian Kennedy sang numbers personal to George and his family, and a tribute CD single featuring their performances became a chart success, raising money for the newly-established George Best Foundation, with money going to liver disease research and youth football initiatives.

George was laid to rest beside his mother Ann at Belfast's Roselawn Cemetery.

In May 2006 Belfast City Airport was renamed George Best Belfast City Airport. And in Nov 2006 the Ulster Bank issued one million £5 notes commemorating the life of this iconic footballer.

Throughout the world George Best will always be remembered as one of the world's most thrilling, skillful and entertaining football stars. 'Pele called me the greatest footballer in the world,' George once said. 'That is the ultimate salute to my life.'


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