The family of former football player, James Dean, have paid an emotional tribute to the 35-year-old following his death.
James’ family said they are ‘utterly heartbroken and cannot believe he is gone’, and keep ‘hoping he will walk back through the door’.
James, 35, went missing last week and was last seen in the Orchard Drive area of Oswaldtwistle around midnight on Wednesday May 5.
Following extensive police enquiries a body was sadly found in the Moscow Mill Street area around 2.25pm on Sunday.
Police have now confirmed that the body is that of James Dean.
In an emotional and heartfelt tribute his family said: “As a family we are utterly heartbroken and we can’t believe our James has really gone.
“We are still hoping he will walk back through the door and give us one of his smiles.
“James was a loving father to his boys, a son, grandson, nephew and a brother and he will be desperately missed by so many.
“He was such a genuine and gentle person who would go out of his way to help anyone who needed it.
“We would like to thank everyone in the community who has helped in the search for James over the last few days and everyone at Brave Church for their love and support.
“We would also ask that people please don’t speculate about what happened to James as it’s not fair for us as a family – especially his boys – to read these things.
“The truth will come out in good time.
“While we are touched by all the lovely things people have said about James we would ask that we are now left in peace to try and come to terms with what has happened.”
A spokesperson for the police said: “Our thoughts are with James’ family and friends at this time.
“James’ death is not being treated as suspicious and a post-mortem examination will take place in due course.
“A file will be prepared for HM Coroner and the matter will proceed to inquest.
“We would like to thank everyone from the community who assisted during the search for James.”