Richie Fraser was well-known across Aberdeen as a supremely-talented footballer – but to his family and friends he was so much more.
The 36-year-old from Portlethen, who passed away last week following a brave battle with illness, inspired all those who knew him with his courage.
Richie came through the youth ranks at Aberdeen and then turned out for Cove Rangers before spending many years playing for amateur teams in the city, including Cove Thistle and Kincorth.
A devoted husband to Laura, Richie was also a proud father to Ava, 11, and three-year-old Rhys.
Having first been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma at the beginning of 2019, Richie went into remission that October.
Sadly a year later he discovered the disease had returned – and his family were given the devastating news it was incurable.
Despite his illness, Richie inspired his family and friends with his determination and positive outlook.
‘Richie tried his hardest to remain postive’
“Through his diagnosis, he battled through chemotherapy with so much determination and positivity that he would beat it, and when he went into remission in October 2019 we really thought he had won the battle,” Laura said.
“Unfortunately, in October 2020, he developed pneumonia-like symptoms that were later diagnosed as Metastatic Ewing’s Sarcoma of the lungs and we were given the devastating news that it was incurable.
“Even after receiving this news, Richie tried his hardest to remain positive and defy the odds to make a recovery.
“He had so much fight and determination in him, we all believed he could too.”
Laura added: “Richie has always been a popular, well-liked guy who would do absolutely anything for anyone but to me and our children he was so much more as a husband and dad.
“He was the ultimate family man and we will be forever proud of him. No words can even begin to describe how we are all feeling right now.
“The love and support we have received as family has been overwhelming and we would just like to say thank you to everyone who has been in touch.”
Described as a “legend in the Cove community”, Richie was a stalwart of the amateur football circuit and was both well-known and extremely popular.
Long-serving Cove Rangers coach Adrian Thomson, who still works at the Balmoral Stadium as kit manager, signed Richie for the club’s youth team after he left Aberdeen as a teenager.
The pair kept in touch even after Richie moved on to pastures new.
“Richie did really well for us and we ended up winning the Highland Youth League,” Adrian said.
“[Then-manager] John Sheran liked him and took him into the first team where he played quite a few games.
“He was a very, very good footballer – but more importantly, he was a really nice lad. He was well-liked and very popular with everyone he met.
“When you’re youth development manager a lot of players pass through, but you remember some with fond memories and that is very much the case with Richie.
“He was a cracking lad who trained well and had a great winning mentality, and he was such a good guy.
“He will be sadly missed by many people.”
His former side Kincorth AFC said they were “devastated” to hear of his passing and added: “Richie was a close friend to many connected with the club, having attended Kincorth Academy. He was also an exceptionally talented football player, having enjoyed spells with Aberdeen FC, Cove Rangers and Cove Thistle.
“Above all, Richie was an absolute gentleman and a devoted family man. Our sincere condolences go out to all family and friends at this difficult time.”
Richie enjoyed a fantastic career in football
Cove Thistle added: “Everyone involved with Cove Thistle are devastated to hear of the passing of former player Richie Fraser.
“Richie enjoyed a fantastic career in football with Aberdeen, Cove Rangers and Cove Thistle. He was a true gentleman and a legend within the Cove community.
“Our thoughts go to his family and friends at this sad time.”
Cove Rangers added: “The club are saddened to learn of the passing of former player Richie Fraser.
“The thoughts of all at CRFC go out to his family & friends at this difficult time.”
Richie’s funeral will be held on Monday, April 12.
It will be held in private due to current restrictions, but his cortege will pass Pittodrie Stadium at around 12pm for anyone who wants to pay their respects.