Uwe Seeler, who captained West Germany in their 1966 World Cup final defeat by England, died on Thursday at the age of 85, the country’s football association (DFB) and his former club Hamburg said.
The prolific striker scored 43 goals in 72 games for West Germany between 1954-70 and was captain for 40 of them.
DFB President Bernd Neuendorf said Germany had lost one of its greatest players.
“After Fritz Walter, he was the second honorary captain of the DFB, an idol for generations, a real role model,” Neuendorf said in a statement.
“Many of his goals are unforgettable, such as his legendary hit with the back of the head in the quarter-finals of the 1970 World Cup against England.”
Hamburg said he scored 507 goals for them in 587 competitive games, making him the club’s record scorer. He helped them win the German championship in 1959-60.
“Uwe Seeler stands for everything that characterises a good person: Down-to-earthness, loyalty, joie de vivre, plus he was always approachable,” Hamburg board member Jonas Boldt said in a statement.
“We will never forget him and will always cherish him.”