Burnley legend Jimmy Robson has described how it was a pleasure to play with the "best player that ever played at Turf Moor".
The pair were part of the 1959/60 league winning team and Jimmy has fond memories of a man whose experience proved invaluable to younger players like himself.
"He was the best player that every played at Turf Moor and it was a pleasure to play with him.
"I remember I was 17 and he went on international duty with Ireland and I had to replace him. Everyone must have wondered what was going on as no one could fill Jimmy McIlroy's boots, let alone a 17-year-old.
"He was an experienced player and I was a young lad but he always helped me.
"We had great times at Burnley, winning the league, playing in Europe and getting into an FA Cup final.
"Like me, he stayed in Burnley and I used to see him around walking in Scott Park in later years.
"It's a sad day for Burnley Football Club."