SCOTTISH football legend Sir Alex Ferguson is in hospital after emergency surgery for a brain haemorrhage.
"The procedure has gone very well but he needs a period of intensive care to aid his recovery".
"It is tragic. I am going to find out how he is as soon as I possibly can", said Everton manager Sam Allardyce, a longstanding friend of Ferguson's, after his side's 1-1 Premier League draw at home to Southampton.
Arguably chief among the talents he developed was Ronaldo, whom Ferguson signed from Sporting CP in 2003 as a replacement for David Beckham.
His statement said: "I was extremely sorry to hear the news about Alex this evening". Thoughts with all the family at this sad time. "Sending prayers and love to Cathy and the whole family x @manchesterunited". Stay strong and hope together with everyone you recover.
Manchester City tweeted: "Everyone at Manchester City wishes Sir Alex Ferguson a full and speedy recovery after his surgery". All my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. "Edwin & Annemarie", said the couple's Twitter post.
United club captain Michael Carrick said he was "absolutely devastated" by the news, while Mike Phelan, who played under Ferguson for United and later served as his assistant, wished his former boss a swift recovery.
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"All our thoughts are with Lady Cathy and the rest of Sir Alex's family at this hard time".
Ferguson spent 26 years at Manchester United and won a string of trophies and competitions, including the Champions League twice.
Tributes immediately flooded in for the most successful manager in the history of the British game, who had appeared fit and well when he presented his old sparring partner Arsene Wenger with a memento at Old Trafford last Sunday ahead of the Frenchman's departure from Arsenal.
The official account of the Premier League, where Ferguson guided United to such success with 13 titles, offered its thoughts, while football's world governing body FIFA also sent words of support.
Ferguson had planned to retire at the end of the 2001/02 campaign but changed his mind after speaking to his wife Cathy and their family.
The scale of Ferguson's achievements during his dynastic reign is underscored by United's failure under three managers to win the Premier League in the five years since his retirement.
Since Ferguson left, United have struggled to repeat his triumphs and great rivals Manchester City have now won two titles in that time, including this season's.