Former soccer star David Johnson dies at 71

Reuters reports that David Johnson, the former professional soccer player, has died at the age of 71. 

Everton confirmed Johnson’s passing Wednesday on Twitter.

Reports indicate that Johnson had been battling throat cancer. But, a precise cause of death has not been provided.

Remembering Johnson

Johnson’s professional career began in Everton in 1969. Then, he would go to Ipswich and Liverpool before making a return to Everton.

With Everton, Johnson scored in the Merseyside derby against Liverpool. But, some nine years later, Johnson would return the favor when he was with Liverpool, scoring for Liverpool against Everton.

Johnson, in fact, had a great deal of success with Liverpool, the team he joined in 1976 for the record fee of £200,000. The Athletic reports:

Liverpool lifted three European Cups and four league titles during his six-year stay at the club as he netted 78 times in 213 matches for Bob Paisley’s side. His best season came in 1979-80 when he scored 27 goals and formed a formidable partnership with Kenny Dalglish.

Johnson would rejoin Everton in 1982. And, he would go on to play for Barnsley, Manchester City, and others – he was even a player-manager at one point for Barrow – before calling his career quits in 1986.

“So sad”

Many of Johnson’s former teams and teammates took to social media to offer tributes and condolences following the news of his passing.

Liverpool wrote, “Rest in peace, Doc. We’re deeply saddened by the passing of David Johnson. The thoughts of everyone at Liverpool Football Club are with David’s family and friends.”

Kenny Dalglish, whom Johnson played with at Liverpool, said, “So sad to hear my great friend and Liverpool legend David Johnson has passed away today. Shared so many great moments and memories with ‘Jono’. Today is a very sad day. Condolences to all Dave’s family. RIP ‘Doc’.”

Johnson once explained how he got the nickname “doc,” saying:

I always kept cough sweets and headache tablets in my kit bag. Everyone used to go to my bag to use my gear. (Liverpool midfielder) Terry Mac (McDermott) went in there one time and took out all these pills and stuff and said: “It’s like a flippin” doctor’s bag’ and after that, it just stuck.