Rest in Peace, Kevin Campbell - Tribute to a Legend

Kevin Campbell, former striker for Arsenal and Everton, has passed away at the age of 54
Doncaster Rovers v Everton - Carabao Cup Second Round
Doncaster Rovers v Everton - Carabao Cup Second Round / Richard Sellers/Allstar/GettyImages

Kevin Joseph Campbell, born 4th February, 1970, passed away on 15th June, 2024 after a short battle with illness.

An early legend of the Premier League, Campbell joined Arsenal’s youth setup aged 15. He scored an incredible 61 goals in 53 appearances in 1988, helping Arsenal win the FA Youth Cup, and proving his talent for goal scoring.

On 7th May, 1988, he made his first team debut against Everton—the first of 228 senior appearances for the Gunners, during which he scored 59 goals.

Arsenal, in their club statement to announce his death, said:

“We are devastated to learn that our former striker Kevin Campbell has died after a short illness. Kevin was adored by everyone at the club. All of us are thinking of his friends and family at this difficult time. Rest in peace, Kevin.”

Campbell moved from Arsenal to Nottingham Forest in 1995, where he scored 31 goals in 82 appearances, before a short, ill-fated spell at Trabzonspor which lasted just one season. He joined Everton permanently in 1999 after a brief loan spell, and went on to make 159 appearances for the club, scoring 48 goals.

Everton, in their club statement, said:

“Everyone at Everton is deeply saddened by the death of our former striker Kevin Campbell at the age of just 54. Not just a true Goodison Park hero and icon of the English game, but an incredible person as well—as anyone who ever met him will know. RIP, Super Kev.”

In total, Campbell made 542 appearances for eight different clubs, and scored 148 goals. His list of honors at Arsenal includes:

FA Youth Cup: 1987-88

Football League First Division: 1990-91

FA Cup: 1992-93

Football League Cup: 1992-93

FA Charity Shield: 1991

European Cup Winner’s Cup: 1993-94

Kevin’s son, Tyrese—who played as striker for Stoke City until last season—spoke of his father’s death:

“The pain of this is indescribable and as a son you look at your dad as invincible. He is my idol, the one who I wanted to be when I grew up," said the 24-year-old. He was the life and soul of every party and room he blessed, a one-in-a-million person that was loved by everyone. A special, special person. I'll miss you Dad. I would now ask that the privacy of our family is respected as we mourn the loss of an irreplaceable father, brother, uncle and all-round amazing human being.”

Once he had hung up his playing boots, Campbell enjoyed success in the media, featuring on ‘Where Are They Now?’ by Sky Sports in 2008, and working as a commentator for Premier League and Champions League games with Sony TEN.

Tributes to him have poured in across social media:

Premier League - “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Kevin Campbell, the former Arsenal, Nottingham Forest, Everton and West Brom striker. Our thoughts and condolences are with Kevin's family, friends and those associated with the clubs he played for.”

Tony Adams - “Super Kev: a goal machine, a giant of a man, with an even bigger heart. An intensely private and a truly wonderful human being. I’m devastated for his loved ones, and all of us. Love you Super Kev, Skipper.”

Alan Smith - "He was ambitious and driven because he wanted and to do well. You see the photos with his big smile and that was his personality. He was warm-hearted and popular with all the boys.”

Wayne Rooney - “Absolutely devastated to hear the news about Kev. Thinking of all his family and friends. Kev was a great team-mate but more importantly a brilliant person who helped me a lot in my earlier years.”

Nottingham Forest - “Everyone at Nottingham Forest is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Kevin Campbell. Kevin spent three seasons at NFFC and was part of the side which earned promotion from the First Division as champions in 1998. Our thoughts are with his friends and family during this difficult time.”

Cardiff City - “All of us at Cardiff City are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former striker, Kevin Campbell. The thoughts of everyone at the Club are with Kevin's friends and family at this incredibly difficult time. Rest in peace, Kevin.”

Black Footballers’ Partnership - “Our condolences to his family and the people of Brixton, Lambeth who have lost one of their greatest sons. Kevin meant so much to so many fans across the country—especially Arsenal, Everton, Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City who he played for in his stellar career. We are going to miss him dearly. May he rest in eternal peace. We love and will miss you Kevin.”