The former Cardiff and Barnsley defender Chris Barker has died at the age of 39.
Barker, who was lead professional development phase coach at Forest Green, made 180 appearances for Cardiff during a five-year spell after joining from Barnsley in 2002. He also had spells at Stoke, Colchester, QPR, Plymouth, Southend and Aldershot.
“It is with great sadness that we learn of the untimely and tragic passing at the age of 39 of Chris Barker,” tweeted Barker’s former management company, World In Motion. “Chris was a client throughout his outstanding playing career of over 500 League games for clubs including Barnsley, Cardiff City, Queens Park Rangers and Plymouth Argyle. Moreover, Chris was a wonderful person, an absolute gentleman and a pleasure to work for.”
Tributes have also come from Barker’s former teammates, with the Brighton defender Adam Webster tweeting: “RIP Chris Barker. A former teammate of mine and someone who helped me grow up on and off the pitch @OfficialShots thoughts and prayers go out to his family. RIP barks.”
A South Wales police statement read: “Police can confirm the sudden death of a 39 year-old man who was discovered at his home address in the Cyncoed area of Cardiff at approximately 2pm on New Year’s Day.
“His death is not being treated as suspicious and the coroner has been informed.”