Former AFTV (Arsenal Fan TV) star Claude Callegari passes away aged 58, it has sadly been confirmed in a statement on Tuesday.
The lifelong Gunners fan, became a popular figure on the club’s fan channel before being removed amid controversy last year.
With permission from his father, Twitter account @ClaudeBanstas, writing as “Terry and Diesel”, shared the sad news that Claude passed on the 29th of March.
A statement wrote: “We can’t believe we are writing this, with permission from Claude’s father, it is with great sadness and a broken heart that we have to announce that our dear friend and legend Claude sadly passed away yesterday afternoon 29th March.
“We ask that you please respect the privacy of Claude, his family and friends and be respectful at this extremely sad time.
“RIP dear friend, gone but never be forgotten. Gooner for life. Terry & Diesel.”
His death comes on the same day that he replied back to a Twitter troll, with ans now calling on more to be done on mens mental health.
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Attending games home and away, Claude was a popular member of Arsenal fan channel ‘AFTV’ and was well known for his passionate rants and his “IT’S TIME TO GO!”.
He has not been seen on the channel since July after an incident involving player Heung-Min Son saw him removed indefinitely.
Claude was heard saying ‘DVD’s going off’ when the South Korea international was withdrawn in stoppage time of Spurs’ 2-1 win over Arsenal in a north London derby.
Son is subbed off and Claude says “DVDs going off”. The constant casual racism towards Son is a joke pic.twitter.com/jOcG6XWbzs
— Mo (@thfcmo) July 13, 2020
‘DVD’ is a racist term directed at Asians referencing the selling of DVDs from market stalls.
Son was targeted by a West Ham fan who used the same racist remark – was fined £184 and ordered to pay £110 costs after pleading guilty to a racially aggravated offence.
Claude appeared in a video with Robbie Lyle to explain his remark, claiming he actually said ‘another DVD will be coming out’ rather than aiming an insult towards Son.
He wrote: “I would like to sincerely apologise for the derogatory remark heard on the AFTV livestream on Sunday, and for the response video that we put out today where we failed to apologise and take onus for the comment.
“As a channel that has millions of viewers around the world, I fully recognise the power that comments made by myself or people on our platform have, and it is paramount that we do not allow comments of this nature to be made in any form.
“As such, it is only appropriate that Claude is removed from the channel indefinitely. In no way do I or AFTV condone racism of any kind and it is important we take appropriate action in line with the comment made.
“I have spoken with representatives at @kickitout earlier today and must reiterate that this is not an issue I would ever try to sweep under the carpet or ignore.”
It comes just four months after the death of Heavy D, a devoted fan of the Premier League club Arsenal and TV personality.
Heavy D, real name Colin Newell, who once appeared on Celebrity Big Brother, was widely known for starting out at Storage Hunters, but sadly died at the age of 43.
Friend Nick Nevern tweeted: “I’m very shocked & saddened to hear of the passing of my friend @HeavyHeavyd.
“u lived ur life the way u wanted to & f**k anyone who didn’t like it! U always brought a smile to my face bro & lifted any room you where in. #RIPHeavyD.”
A post on the AFTV Twitter page read: “We are shocked to hear the sad news that Heavy D has passed away today. Our condolences go to his family at this very sad time. #RIPHeavyD.”
Fans reacted as the former AFTV star Claude Callegari passes away aged 58…
@whyareyoumad13: Devastating rest in peace Claude
@LDNFootbalI: RIP ❤️ We need to start holding people more accountable for their words on social media. So, so sad.
@CadgeTHFCJazz: People need to understand the damage that rude and unnecessary comments can do. Heartbreaking to read, RIP Claude
@dyrt2020: That’s sad. I was actually a bit worried for him after aftv got rid of him. It seemed like that was all he had. Such a shame he came across as a genuine man who just liked his bit of football. At least he’s with his mother again now.
@AshardLorraine: You never know what someone is going through. Just. Be. Kind. RIP Claude
@Gazwthegooner: Oh no this is terrible news. Always had a soft spot for the fella and I know my son who met him a couple of times really liked him too. He’ll be gutted. 😞 Whatever anyone thought of him his love for The Arsenal could never be argued. RIP Gooner and thoughts are with his family. 😞
@ebanks_brook9: Cancel culture is one of the biggest dangers out there! It’s so important to check on your friends and make sure they’re coping with life as well! People don’t realise how small an action can be to cause an effect!
@Gaz_THFC: The only one that wasn’t a complete and utter bell end in my opinion. Used to make me laugh did Claude
@jas_thfc: Whatever you say on social media, will affect others. You may not see it but people are suffering. Mental health is a big problem but sadly there are still people who can’t see this. Please check up on your friends and family regularly. This needs to stop, RIP Claude
@EvertonNewsFeed: So sorry to hear the news. Our thoughts are with Claude’s family and friends
@Yanitedna: Oh this is terrible, RIP Claude. Seemed like such a nice guy
@BlauerTHFC: Rest in Peace Claude. Sending strength to his family and friends
@Jordan_Denton_: Mental health is no joke, Twitter is the most toxic platform out there. Rest in peace Claude you brought plenty of entertainment to our screens.
@NozAhmed: So sorry and shocked to hear this. Sending all my wishes and condolences to Claude’s family, friends and everyone who knew him. He’ll be missed immensely by so many people.
@Sabgooner: Very sad news about Claude. A nice guy in person and genuinely loved Arsenal football club. Be nice to each other and put more kindness out there. RIP.
@x__Jules__x: Shocked by this! Loved watching his videos! Always straight to the point!! Another example of people needing to be more kind online! The abuse he took at times was uncalled for. Hope he’s at peace now! RIP Claude
@Enrohd_1992: Thinking of you all today Claude was a fantastic guy and a fantastic character we will all miss him the football community have lost a dear friend and a great guy thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very sad time
@FlexUTD: So upset to hear about the passing of Claude. A genuine sole who loved his football and his team. Always a pleasure to be around man..I’m stunned
@GoonerGirl1969: I’m completely shocked and terribly upset to read this. My condolences goes to his family. I loved Claude. Always was so great to me whenever we had a meet up & a drink. I was only thinking this week to ask him and Terry to come on our podcast. Now it’s too late
@bernardooooV3: Social media really needs to crack down on internet trolls because this getting out of hand and it’s heartbreaking. Please just think before you type a text/tweet/message because you just don’t know what the person is going through in their own personal life. RIP Claude
@NagendraFcb: RIP Loyal Gooner Absolute entertainer Thanks for all the great memories in AFTV
RIP❤️ will forever be iconic pic.twitter.com/YPOylrnVt6
— AayushMUFC (@WManUtdW) March 30, 2021
— Arsenal News Channel (@Arsenalnewschan) March 30, 2021