RIP Maria Petri: Mikel Arteta leads tributes after iconic Arsenal superfan passes away
Tributes have poured in from the Arsenal community after the Gunners' most famous fan Maria Petri passed away at the age of 82.
For over six decades, Maria Petri touched the hearts of every Arsenal fan with her undying passion for the north-London club. A well-known face at the iconic Emirates Stadium, Maria Petri, passed away on Friday at 82, sending shockwaves in the Arsenal community.
"A true club legend. The ultimate supporter. For years, Maria attended evert men's, women's and academy game to support The Arsenal. Her spirit, love and commitment to the club will live on forever. Rest in peace, Maria," wrote Arsenal in a statement.
Maria Petri accompanied the squad at home and away games and was renowned for her upbeat attitude, songs, and chants. She has made many friends in the game because of her support of Arsenal throughout the years.
"We are all really sorry to hear the news. She was an integral part of our support and our community. The way she transmitted Arsenal values and the feeling of this football club was something I have never seen before. She was everywhere, every single week and she will be missed. Big time," said Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.
Maria often said that "Arsenal was her family", and that family is devastated today. She also said, "I shall be oh so upset when I die. I won't be able to watch Arsenal anymore." Since the news first surfaced on Friday, social media has been inundated with condolence messages.
Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright tweeted a picture of himself with Maria alongside a succession of crying emojis and broken hearts.
TV presenter and Arsenal fan Piers Morgan tweeted, "RIP Arsenal's greatest fan, Maria Petri. Never missed a game, and we always heard her chants. Magnificent lady & all-time club legend."
Former Arsenal player Alex Scott posted a picture of the two together, along with a broken-heart emoji and the caption, "Arsenal through and through... Thank you for the love, the passion, the songs and support for us @ArsenalWFC from the very beginning. We will never forget you, Maria. We love you."
Meanwhile, Gilly Flaherty, who began her career at Arsenal and is now at Liverpool, said, "Can't tell you how gutted I am hearing this news today. My time at Arsenal wouldn't have been the same without Maria. Even after leaving Arsenal, she made time for me every time I went back. Heartbreaking news. Rest in peace Maria, you will be missed so much."
And Arsenal Women Supporters Club posted a number of photos of Maria, and wrote, "Our Maria. We will miss you."
Here's a look at some of the tributes that flooded Twitter: