Tributes have flowed for Hawthorn great John Kennedy Snr after the giant of the game and official Australian Football Hall of Fame legend died, aged 91.
The Hawks released a statement on Thursday confirming the news on behalf of the family, saying Kennedy had passed away peacefully.
Kennedy, the father figure widely credited for laying the foundations for the club's premiership successes, was described as a man of extraordinary humility and strong family values.
"It is with deep regret, that our great leader and contributor, John Kennedy Snr; player, coach and educator, has left us," Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett said.
"John will live on within the Hawthorn Football Club forever.
"He set and lived the standards that are the culture of the Family Club.
"I extend the club's and my condolences to his family."
Kennedy was a four-time best-and-fairest winner at Hawthorn between 1950-1959 and later coached the Hawks to their first three VFL premierships in 1961, 1971 and 1976.
He also coached North Melbourne for five seasons, and died three days before both clubs are scheduled to meet at Marvel Stadium.
The Hawks had already planned to wear a special guernsey honouring Kennedy's contribution against the Roos, with the club now to work with North on an appropriate celebration of his life before the opening bounce.
A statue of Kennedy looking over the playing field at Hawthorn's Waverley Park training base is a constant reminder of his impact on the club.
"John's impact on the Hawthorn Football Club will be eternal and his legacy will always live on at Hawthorn," Kennett said.
"So much of what Hawthorn is today, is because of the foundations John laid in yesteryears.
"His booming voice will forever echo in the corridors of the football club and the legend of the man in the brown overcoat, with a heart of gold, will be passed down from generation to generation of the Hawthorn family."
North Melbourne chairman Ben Buckley, who played under Kennedy after the coaching great was lured out of retirement by the Kangaroos in 1985, echoed Kennett's sentiments.
"He was not only a coach to many of us, but a terrific mentor and teacher at Arden St," Buckley said.
"John always preached a team-first, club-first attitude and many of the values he established during his time at Arden St, we still hold dear as a club and as North people today."
Earlier in June, Kennedy became the 29th person elevated to official legend status in the Australian Football Hall of Fame.
"John Kennedy was about service, about dedication, the importance of respect and the primary quality that you committed your actions to the words you spoke," AFL Commission chairman Richard Goyder said.
"He gave everything he possibly could to both Hawthorn and North Melbourne in the pursuit of success, but his approach to life, and how it should be lived, was imparted upon all who moved within his circle, be that as a player, a coach, a mentor to emerging leaders within the game or the head of the game itself when he was chair of the AFL Commission.
"He was rightly named a legend of the game earlier this year."
Kennedy's grandson, Sydney Swans co-captain Josh Kennedy, is due to play his 250th AFL match against the Western Bulldogs on Thursday night.
Australian Associated Press