SIR GEOFF HURST has led the tributes to his close friend and fellow World Cup winner Martin Peters MBE who died Saturday morning, aged 76.
Peters scored England's second goal in the 1966 World Cup final and heartfelt messages have poured in from across the football world for the man who also enjoyed great success alongside Hurst at West Ham.
Via a statement on the Hammers' official website, Peters' family announced the sad news on Saturday evening.
It read: "It is with profound sadness that we announce that Martin passed away peacefully in his sleep at 4am this morning.
"A beloved husband, dad and granddad, and a kind, gentle and private man, we are devastated by his loss but so very proud of all that he achieved and comforted by the many happy memories we shared.
"We will be making no further comment and kindly ask that the privacy of our family is respected at this extremely difficult time.”
As the news spread, Peters' great friend and West Ham teammate Hurst - who scored a hat-trick in the famous Wembley final - was one of the first to pay tribute.
He wrote: "Today is a very sad day for football & for me personally.
"Martin Peters was one of the all time greats & a close friend and colleague of mine for in excess of 50 years.
"A fellow World Cup final goalscorer & my West Ham partner for years along with Bobby Moore.
"RIP old friend."
West Ham posted a lengthy tribute on their website for the gifted midfielder who played more than 300 league games for the Hammers.
It began: "Everyone at West Ham United is deeply saddened by the tragic news that legendary Hammer Martin Peters MBE has died at the age of 76.
"Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and 1966 hat-trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst will stand eternal as West Ham United’s three proudest sons.
"Homegrown graduates of the famed claret and blue youth ranks, who led the Hammers to European glory in the mid 1960s and then England to world dominance a year later."
Another well known West Ham man Tony Cottee also added his condolences to the growing list.
He tweeted: "So sorry to hear about the passing of England & West Ham legend Martin Peters.
"#RIPMartin. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time."
Peters had spells Norwich City, and Sheffield United at the end of his career but after West Ham is best known for his time with Tottenham.
The North Londoners tweeted their own message of condolence which read: "We are extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Martin Peters. The thoughts of everyone at the Club are with his family and friends at this difficult time."
Former Spurs striker Gary Lineker also tweeted a message.
He wrote: "Sorry to hear that Martin Peters has passed away. One of our World Cup winning heroes.
"A great player and a true gentleman."
Martin Peters, 1943 - 2019. RIP.