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R.I.P. Tito Vilanova (1968-2014)

The one-time Barcelona manager passed away today.

David Ramos

It seems that sometimes being a fan of Real Madrid or Barcelona requires you to spend as much time hating the rival club as you do supporting your own. It's kind of natural, after all, the two sides have been fierce rivals both on and off the pitch for decades and will be that way for decades to come. "Haterz gon' hate" as the kids like to say.

However, there are always moments when fans of both clubs, and clubs all over the world, put away our petty rivalries for a moment of solidarity and unfortunately today is such a day. Tito Vilanova, the fine manager who led Barcelona to a league title in his one season managing Barcelona, has succumbed to parotid gland cancer and passed away today at age 45. Slated to start the 2013-2014 season as manager of the club, he stepped away shortly prior to the season's beginning as he felt that he could not fulfill his duties while at the same time going through cancer treatment.

Vilanova, a Barca man through and through, came up through the Barca youth academy and played for their B team (among others). He eventually joined the club as an assistant coach in 2007 before getting his breakthrough as manager in the 2012-2013 season as he led his team to a marvelous domestic season and a deep run into the Champions League.

Of course, all that is secondary to the good man he was and the unfortunate circumstances of his stepping down from his position. Cancer is a brutal thing. Just when there was hope that Tito's battle might be a winning one, this unfortunate news broke and we will all rally behind Barca through this tough period in their club's history no matter where allegiances lie.

Our deepest condolences and support to Tito's family and the entire FC Barcelona organization. Fan lines do not exist today.


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