The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange is amongst several individuals and organisations that have expressed condolences on the passing of former Reggae Boy Luton Shelton.
The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) as well as his local club Harbour View have also paid tribute to Shelton.
Shelton, who died on Friday of myotrophic ateral sclerosis, popularly called ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, had a distinguished football career, playing for Jamaica, Harbour View and clubs across the world.
He was diagnosed with the disease from 2017, which ended his playing career, during which he scored 35 goals for the Reggae Boyz, 32 of which were in games that the national team won. He was 35 years old.
According to Grange, she was hoping that Shelton would have recovered from the life-threatening disease, which also claimed the life of former national player, Barrington ‘Cobra’ Gaynor in 2011.
“I am really saddened at Luton’s passing. I was hoping he would have made a turn around although his illness was one that was a great challenge. I continued to hope and pray for him. I will surely miss him,” Grange said in a release Friday afternoon.
In 2018 Grange presented $5 million to Shelton, through the Sports Development Foundation (SDF), to assist with the illness. It was one of the assistances that the former national player received from different individuals and organisations.
The JFF describes Shelton as a goal scorer of repute, who Jamaica depended on for many victories.
“He intimidated defenders with pace and guile. He played with his heart and soul for Jamaica as well as for his school and clubs and he will always be remembered for that,”
the JFF said.
Meanwhile, Harbour View, in a tribute, praised Shelton for his contribution to the sport of football.
“A true champion, on and off the field. Thank you HVFC international and former Reggae Boy captain, Luton Shelton for all you’ve contributed to the world of football and beyond,”
Harbour View said.
KSAFA said members of the association are praying for the family.
Shelton has only played for Harbour View locally and scored 44 goals for the club. He started his career there, before going overseas to play for Helsingborg IF in Sweden, Sheffield United in England, Valerang in Norway, Karabukspor in Turkey and Volga Nizhny Novgorod in Russia. He then returned to Harbour View before being diagnosed with the disease.
Shelton played schoolboy Manning Cup for Wolmer’s Boys’ School.