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An icon for Hamburg and Germany, his legacy will live on forever. Rest in peace, Uns Uwe. - © IMAGO / Michael Schwarz
An icon for Hamburg and Germany, his legacy will live on forever. Rest in peace, Uns Uwe. - © IMAGO / Michael Schwarz

Deep sorrow at the passing of Uwe Seeler


The football world is mourning the death of Uwe Seeler, the brilliant goalscorer for the Germany national team and Hamburger SV, who passed away this Thursday at the age of 85.

“Uwe Seeler will be remembered as one of the outstanding players in the history of German football,” said DFL CEO Donata Hopfen. “He was held in high esteem not only for his sporting achievements, but also as a great and down-to-earth person and for his pronounced social commitment. Our sympathies are with his family.”

Seeler’s popularity was exceptionally great. He was an idol and role model for generations. When he was named the DFL's honorary award winner in the summer of 2016, laudator Wolfgang Overath summed up special character traits of his former teammate from the Germany national team. He was a tireless fighter on the football pitch, but despite all his sporting ambition, he was always fair and a good loser even in bitter moments such as the 1966 World Cup final against England - despite the 4-2 defeat in extra-time.

Overath also pointed out Seeler’s pronounced social commitment. And the fact that the centre-forward resisted lucrative offers like the one from Inter Milan and stayed in his hometown with Hamburg, which he later led as president. And where, even before the establishment of the Uwe Seeler Foundation in 1996, he often selflessly provided assistance to fellow people who were dependent on support or were in need through no fault of their own.

The first sportsman to receive the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, honorary captain of the national team, honorary citizen of Hamburg, honorary lock keeper in the city, honorary captain of the port and honorary police commissioner. This wide range of awards shows Seeler’s extraordinary popularity beyond football. The basis for this and for his successful career as a businessman was laid on the pitch by Seeler, often affectionately known as ‘Uns Uwe’, through his outstanding achievements between 1954 and 1972: runner-up in the 1966 World Cup, third in 1970, 72 caps with 43 goals, German champion in 1960, DFB Cup winner in 1963, top scorer in the first Bundesliga season in 1963/64 with 30 goals, a total of 137 goals in 239 Bundesliga matches. He often scored his goals in spectacular ways – fantastic headers were his speciality as well as great overhead kick.

Seeler repeatedly struggled with health problems in recent years. He is survived by wife Ilka, to whom he was married for 63 years, and three daughters.