Former Saints defender Kevin Moore has died at the age of 55.

Moore had been suffering from a rare form of dementia, known as Pick’s Disease, which he was diagnosed with in 2008.

He passed away today, on his birthday.

Moore made 185 appearances for Saints, scoring 13 goals, from 1987 to 1994. He also played more than 400 times for Grimsby, while he had spells with Oldham, Bristol Rovers and Fulham during his career.

He leaves a wife, Mandy, and two children.

Moore lived in Otterbourne, but his condition meant he quickly required regular care and could not remain at home. He had initially been looked after at the White House care home, in Curdridge, before moving to the Maypole Nursing Centre, in Hedge End, as the illness became progressively worse.

In 2010, friends and ex-teammates rallied round him, setting up a benefit fund and holding a series of golf days and fundraising events to help pay for his care. Tens of thousands of pounds were raised as a result.

Richard Becheley, who helped organise much of it, said: “It was a privilege to start the benefit fund for Kevin and his family, alongside Lisa Catlin, Ian Ritchie and Matt Le Tissier.

“It’s a very sad day and my thoughts and wishes go out to Kevin’s family and friends.

“Having spoken to Kevin’s brother, I can echo his thoughts that the family are very grateful to all the football fans for the support they have given throughout his footballing career, and especially over the last few years of his illness.

“I hope the fundraising doesn’t stop and can go on to help fight such a terrible disease in Kevin’s name.”

Le Tissier paid tribute to his friend and former teammate tonight, saying: “If you wanted somebody in your team who you knew was going to give everything they had every time they stepped on the pitch he would have been your first pick. He was your archetypal 120 per cent man.

“We had known for a while that Kevin had been poorly and wasn’t going to get better, but it is still a shock. Our thoughts are obviously with Mandy and all his family.”

As well as his committed displays at centre half, Moore is fondly remembered by Saints fans for scoring at Wembley, in the 1992 Zenith Data Systems Cup final.

Another of Moore’s former Saints colleagues, Francis Benali, said: “He was a fabulous teammate, a strong and tough defender, and an incredible header of the ball.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player who had the ability to time their leap as he was able to do, and I think that was typified by his goal at Wembley.

“I’ve still got images of him being as high as the crossbar, if not higher, when he headed the ball.

“He was a fabulous professional and always willing to offer advice and support to us as younger players. He was everything you wanted in a senior teammate.

“Our thoughts are obviously with Mandy and the rest of the family at this time.”

If you would like to make a donation to the fight against Pick’s Disease, you can do so by writing a cheque to the Kevin Moore Benefit Fund, 1 St Simon Close, Locks Heath, Southampton SO31 6DH.