AFL legend John Kennedy dies, hours before grandson's 250th

John Kennedy Snr is being remembered as a true legend of Aussie rules footy. Pic: Getty

Hawthorn great and official Australian Football Hall of Fame legend John Kennedy Snr has died, aged 91.

The Hawks released a statement on Thursday confirming the news, saying the club father figure had passed away peacefully.

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Kennedy 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."

The club said in its statement that Kennedy’s contribution to Hawthorn will never be forgotten.

"He was a man of extraordinary humility and strong family values and his legacy will live on, always,” the statement read.

"Hawthorn and the entire football community extend their deepest condolences to the Kennedy family and ask that their privacy is respected during this time."

The AFL world flooded social media to pay tribute the footy icon after news of his passing.

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.

Kennedy leaves behind impressive legacy

He also coached North Melbourne for five seasons, and died three days before both clubs are scheduled to meet at Marvel Stadium.

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.

Unfortunately for the legendary footy figure’s family, his death comes hours before tonight’s milestone match for grandson, Josh Kennedy.

The Sydney Swans co-captain is due to play his 250th AFL match against the Western Bulldogs in Thursday night’s clash at the SCG.

Josh Kennedy (C), son of four-time premiership player John Kennedy Junior (R) and grandson of three-time premiership coach John Kennedy Senior (L) pose together. Pic: Getty

"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.

"He also brought with him a tremendous amount of experiences and knowledge from his premiership wins, and played a big part in setting up the club for a successful charge through the 90s which yielded two more premierships for us in '96 and '99.

"On behalf of everyone at the club, past and present, we pass on our deepest condolences to the Kennedy family."

Earlier in June, Kennedy became the 29th person elevated to official legend status in the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

with Yahoo Sports staff