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THE Hillsborough football stadium disaster has claimed its 97th victim — 32 years after the tragedy.
Liverpool football fan Andrew Devine died on Tuesday at the age of 55. He suffered life-changing injuries in the disaster, including brain damage.
Coroner Andre Rebello concluded at an inquest on Wednesday that he had been “unlawfully killed” — in line with a jury verdict at the 2016 inquest in Warrington into the other 96 deaths, held after a determined campaign by Hillsborough disaster families.
The Warrington verdict overturned an original ruling that the deaths had been “accidental.”
Mr Devine was admitted to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital on July 12 with aspiration pneumonia and fever.
The brain injury caused as a result of trauma he suffered in the Hillsborough disaster meant he was predisposed to fatal aspiration pneumonia, Mr Rebello found.
In a statement released through Liverpool Football Club, Mr Devine’s family said: “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.
“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.”
A statement from Liverpool football club said they were “deeply saddened” by his death.
A spokesman said: “A lifelong Liverpool supporter, Andrew continued to attend matches at Anfield when possible despite suffering life-changing injuries at Hillsborough.
“In doing so he defied expectations that he would not survive for six months after the tragedy.
“The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Andrew’s family and his carers.”
The Hillsborough disaster took place at Sheffield Wednesday football club’s stadium in South Yorkshire on April 15 1989, when Liverpool and Nottingham Forest met in an FA Cup semi-final.
Liverpool fans were crowded into the stadium’s Leppings Lane stand when police opened a gate to allow hundreds more to stream in, causing a crush which killed 96 people.
Many medial outlets — notoriously The Sun — disgracefully blamed Liverpool fans for the disaster. The Sun is still boycotted in Liverpool.
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