FORMER Premier League star Dalian Atkinson has died after being Tasered by police in the hours of this morning.
The ex Aston Villa and Man City star is said to have gone into cardiac arrest after cops were called to a residential road.
Atkinson died around 90 minutes after he was hit by a stun gun in Meadow Close in the Trench area of Telford, Shropshire, at around 1.30am on Monday.
Police were called to his family home after after receiving reports that people were concerned for the safety of a person in Telford.
Officers from West Mercia Police raced to the scene at 1.30am this morning and a Taser was used on Atkinson.
He received medical attention after going into cardiac arrest but was pronounced dead at around 3am.
The incident has now been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
The 48-year-old striker – who also played for Real Sociedad – grew up on Meadow Road with his parents Ernest and Gloria.
Today Ernest, 85, told how his son flew into booze-fuelled rage shortly before he was tasered by police.
Speaking yesterday from his home, he said: “He was in a real state.
“I don’t know if he was drunk or on drugs but he was very agitated and his mind was upset.
“The last thing he said to me was ‘don’t move’ when the police came to the door.
“He was threatening and very upset. I didn’t call the police but someone else did.
“He got tasered in the street outside in the road. I didn’t see him but I saw a flash. I haven’t had any sleep and cannot take it in.
“The police are dealing with this now.”
Next door neighbour Lascelles Rose, 73, said: “I spoke to his dad this morning, he phoned me to tell me the sad news.
“He was so upset, he just kept telling me ‘he’s gone’ and ‘my boy is dead’ – he is just so heartbroken.
“Dalian had been in hospital recently for a couple of months, he had been poorly but I don’t know what with.
“He went to school with my three children and I’ve known him his whole life, he was a good man who would always be friendly and say hello.
“I used to watch him playing football in the street and you could tell then he had something special.
“He was one hell of a football player and a top man.
“I am just in complete shock trying to process what had happened.
“He was never a trouble-maker or anything like that and the police had never been round there before – I just can’t understand why this has happened.
“Dalian didn’t live there anymore but he did visit quite a bit, he always kept in touch with his parents and would come and see them whoever he played for.
“It is such a tragedy. He was such a talent and such a lovely man.”
A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “I had known him since he was a little boy, he was a famous footballer at one time.
“He was friendly, he had no trouble that I know of.”
Forensic officers were at the scene this morning, as Meadow Close remained cordoned off.
Neighbours described “a lot of shouting and police” at the scene.
Atkinson, who scored 36 goals in 114 appearances for Villa, scored in the League Cup final win over Manchester United in 1994.
The striker had spells with Ipswich, Sheffield Wednesday and Manchester City and joined Villa for £1.6million in July 1991.
He scored a wonder goal against Wimbledon in the 1992-93 season after picking the ball up well inside his own half before gliding past a stream of Dons defenders and chipping goalkeeper Hans Segers from 25 yards.
The goal – and the celebration with a member of the crowd holding an umbrella – became the stuff of Villa legend.
Today Ipswich Town paid tribute on its Twitter feed, saying: “Terribly sad news about our former striker. Our thoughts are with Dalian’s family and friends at this tragic time.”
Sheffield Wednesday said on the social media site: “The thoughts of everyone at Wednesday are with the friends and family of Dalian Atkinson this morning. RIP”.