Remembering Shelton - Sporting fraternity pays tribute to former Reggae Boy
Sport Minister Olivia Grange says she is disheartened at the passing of former Reggae Boy Luton Shelton as she was praying he would have made a recovery amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Shelton, 35, passed away yesterday after suffering from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a progressive nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control.
“I am really saddened at Luton’s passing,” Grange said. “I was hoping he would have made a turn around although his illness was one that was a great challenge. I continued to hope and pray for him,” said Minister Grange.
“I will surely miss him. I know the entire sports fraternity will miss him and they are mourning as well. Let us remember his family in our prayers.”
Fabian Taylor, a former national teammate of Shelton, has described his death as a massive blow to the footballing community in Jamaica.
Taylor, who also played upfront with Shelton at Harbour View, told The Gleaner that he was shocked at his passing.
“When I heard the news, I was in the middle of cooking and my knees were shaking right throughout the time I was in the chicken because I was nervous and didn’t know what to do,” Taylor said.
“I think even though we knew that this day would come, I wasn’t expecting it now. It is a great loss for football and it is also a very sad moment for football even though there is no football playing in the country right now.”
RECORD SETTING GOALS FOR COUNTRY
Shelton, who was known for his pace and his deft finishing, made 75 appearances for the Reggae Boyz between 2004 and 2013 and scored 35 goals in the process. His tally of goals currently stands as a record for national men’s football.
Taylor said that Shelton, who had a very successful club career in Europe, was also well loved across the globe.
“It is very sad and very touching because he was a youngster that learnt so much from me and I learnt so much from him and to hear about his passing is devastating,” Taylor said. “He was not just a simple guy, this guy scored the most goals in the history of Jamaica’s football for the national team.
“He was very loved as well by the Harbour View players, by the Harbour View supporters, and internationally, he was really loved.”
Shelton, who started out at Wolmer’s Boys School, had stints at Helsingsborg in Sweden, Sheffield United in the English Premier League, Vålerenga and AaB in Norway and Demark respectively, Karabükspor in Turkey, and the now defunct Russian side Volga Nizhny Novgorod, before returning to Harbour View where he had a short stint before his ailments began.
He was diagnosed with ALS in the summer of 2018 after a year and a half of mysterious ailments, which doctors had previously struggled to associate with a cause.
Although he lost his ability to speak, as well as other motor functions, Shelton decided to go public with his condition in late 2018, hoping to use his celebrity to raise awareness of the disease.
Shelton is survived by wife Bobbette and four children.
His passing is the third of three local football personalities this week after Andrew Williams, another former Harbour View player, and Constant Spring FC owner Maurice ‘Danny’ Lyn.