Alfred Schmidt, one of the greatest Black and Yellows of all time, has died aged 81 following a short but severe illness. Schmidt was part of the Borussia Dortmund side that became German champions in 1957 and 1963, before later captaining the club to success in the 1965 DFB Cup and the 1966 European Cup Winners' Cup.

"Borussia Dortmund are deeply saddened by the loss of a great Black and Yellow, a man who would have been honoured at next week's general meeting for his 60-year association with BVB," said president Dr. Reinhard Rauball, who continued: "Aki Schmidt was a Black and Yellow icon who lifted league titles and the DFB Cup with BVB. He was a trailblazer, becoming the first Dortmund player to captain the German national team and helping us to become the first German club to win a trophy at European level. Once his playing career was over, he worked as a coach, was involved in fan affairs at BVB, took visiting groups on stadium tours until very recently and played an active role in the Council of Seniors. I saw Aki just yesterday and could sense a real optimism and confidence in him. The fact that he has departed so suddenly deeply affects us all. Borussia Dortmund would like to pay homage to a great character who has left a lasting imprint on the club."

Hans-Joachim Watzke added: "A great Black and Yellow is no longer with us. This is an immensely sad day for the entire BVB family. I have fond memories of the numerous sporting highlights that this incredible footballer provided and of the wonderful moments that we spent together in more recent years. Aki and myself not only shared a nickname, we also enjoyed a very close personal relationship. We will all miss him terribly."

Wolfgang Paul, Chairman of the Council of Seniors, said: "We have lost a wonderful person who always lightened up those around him. I saw him 14 days ago and he was full of hope. As a player I had the honour of being his captain, and we celebrated a number of triumphs together. We will all miss him dearly."

Detailed report to follow