Macclesfield Town Football Club have announced the tragic death of the former Lincoln City midfielder Richard Butcher, aged just 29.

A statement on the club’s website read: “It is with great sadness that we have to announce the untimely death earlier today of Richard Butcher.

“Richard passed away at his home in Manchester overnight.

“He was an exemplary professional and a thoroughly likeable young man. Our thoughts are with his wife and family at this very difficult time.”

He was part of the Imps side assembled by late manager Keith Alexander and was last year involved in the tribute testimonial match that celebrated the huge success Alexander had at Sincil Bank.

Butcher first joined City in 2002 and had three separate stints at Sincil Bank, making over 100 appearances for the club, including two play-off finals.

That success earned him a move to League One outfit Oldham Athletic before a short loan back to Sincil Bank. A move to Peterborough United followed shortly after.

He started his career at his hometown club Northampton Town before going on to have spells at Rushden & Diamonds, Kettering Town and Notts County before Peter Jackson convinced him to return in 2009. However, he found first-team opportunities limited after the arrival of new boss Chris Sutton.

A successful loan spell with Macclesfield earned Butcher a two-year deal at Moss Rose and reunited him with Alexander, who sadly died less than a month later, on 3 March 2010.

There is no indication as yet of what caused Butcher’s sudden death and no date has been set for the funeral.