STOKE CITY were deeply saddened to learn of the death of their former player Paul Ware.
Paul, who made more than 140 appearances for The Potters after starting his career with the Club, passed away earlier today at the age of 42.
Chairman Peter Coates said: "Paul had fought a typically brave battle against illness and it's tragic that he lost that battle at such a young age.
"He was quite rightly viewed as a legendary figure in the eyes of our supporters and his death will be keenly felt across the Potteries.
"On behalf of everyone connected with Stoke City, I would like to extend sincere condolences to Paul's family and friends at this extremely difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with them."
Paul, who was born in Congleton and lived in Sandbach, progressed through Stoke's youth system before being handed his first professional contract in 1987.
He made his debut on the final day of the 1987-88 campaign against Shrewsbury and followed that up with 15 appearances the following season, during which he scored his first goal for the club against Bournemouth.
He established himself as a first team regular in the 1990-91 campaign and famously took the Club through to the final of the Autoglass Trophy by scoring a stunning goal against Peterborough in the area final.
Paul played 35 games during the 1992-93 season as Lou Macari guided Stoke to promotion to the second tier.
He also served Stockport, Cardiff, Hednesford Town, Macclesfield and Rochdale before calling time on his playing career in 2002.