A Liverpool fan who suffered life-changing injuries in the Hillsborough stadium disaster of 1989 has passed away, becoming the 97th victim of the tragic event.
Andrew Devine, who was 55 at the time of his death, was one of hundreds of people injured in the incident, during the crush in the stadium prior to the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.
“It is with great sadness and a sense of immense loss that we can confirm that Andrew Devine passed away yesterday at the premature age of 55,” a statement from Devine’s family read. “Our collective devastation is overwhelming but so too is the realisation that we were blessed to have had Andrew with us for 32 years since the Hillsborough tragedy.
“We welcome the conclusion of the coroner, Mr Andre Rebello, made today at Liverpool Coroner’s Court, that Andrew was unlawfully killed, making him the 97th fatality of the tragic events that occurred on April 15, 1989.
“In the intervening years, Andrew has been a much loved son, brother and uncle. He has been supported by his family and a team of dedicated carers, all of whom devoted themselves to him.
“As ever, our thoughts are with all of those affected by Hillsborough. We would ask that our privacy is respected at this sad time.”
Before Devine’s death, the most-recent tragedy of the Hillsborough disaster was Tony Bland, who was left severely brain but lived for a further four years.
As noted by the Liverpool Echo back in 2019, midfielder James Milner specifically requested that the team’s open-top bus celebration of their Champions League triumph make a detour to Devine’s house to allow him to see the trophy close-up.
“A lifelong Liverpool supporter, Andrew continued to attend matches at Anfield when possible despite suffering life-changing injuries at Hillsborough on April 15, 1989,” Liverpool remembered. “In doing so he defied expectations that he would not survive for six months after the tragedy.
“At an inquest held in Liverpool today, it was ruled that Andrew was unlawfully killed as a result of the disaster, providing a further tragic reminder of the toll that Hillsborough continues to take on all affected by it. The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Andrew’s family and his carers.”