Claudio “Claude” Callegari of Arsenal Fan TV fame has died at the age of 58, a spokesperson has confirmed on his Twitter account.
Claude rose to fame as one of the presenters of Arsenal Fan TV; a YouTube channel known for its rants about Gunners performances, which was renamed AFTV in 2018.
Claude – who was a taxi driver by trade – was a regular on the popular show until July 2020, when he was removed “indefinitely” after making a racist remark about Tottenham forward Son Heung-min.
A statement on Claude’s Twitter page on Tuesday read: “We can’t believe we are writing this, with permission from Claude’s father, it is with great sadness and a broken heart that we have to announce that our dear friend and legend Claude sadly passed away yesterday afternoon 29th March.
“We ask that you please respect the privacy of Claude, his family and friends and be respectful at this extremely sad time. RIP dear friend, gone but never forgotten. Gooner for life.”
Ex-Arsenal star Kevin Campbell is among those to pay tribute to Claude on social media.
Campbell tweeted: “Deepest condolences to Claude’s Father and family. I honestly am shocked and can’t believe it! May he R.I.E.P.”
Claude was known for being an outspoken critic of Arsene Wenger during his time on AFTV and is famous for saying: “It’s time to go”.
But he was removed from the show in 2020 after referring to Heung-min as “DVDs” during the north London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham.
Claude appeared on an AFTV video with Robbie Lyle, who created the Arsenal fan channel back in 2012, to try and explain the remark, but viewers did not believe the reasoning.
Claude was subsequently removed from the show and Lyle released a series of tweets in apology.
The tweets read: “I would like to sincerely apologise for the derogatory remark heard on the AFTV livestream on Sunday, and for the response video that we put out today where we failed to apologise and take onus for the comment.
“As a channel that has millions of viewers around the world, I fully recognise the power that comments made by myself or people on our platform have, and it is paramount that we do not allow comments of this nature to be made in any form.
“As such, it is only appropriate that Claude is removed from the channel indefinitely. In no way do I or AFTV condone racism of any kind and it is important we take appropriate action in line with the comment made.”