Born in County Durham on 18 February 1933, Robson was an apprentice electrician before beginning his playing career as a 17-year-old at Fulham. In two separate spells at Craven Cottage he scored 77 goals in 344 matches, though he also made 239 appearances for West Bromwich Albion, scoring 55 goals in all for the Baggies. Capped by his country 20 times, Robson eventually yielded his place in the team to Bobby Moore.
He took up his first coaching post at Fulham in 1968 and though he failed to make an impression there, he performed miracles in his next job at Ipswich Town. The men from Portman Road became a feared side under Robson's stewardship, winning the English FA Cup in 1978 and the UEFA Cup in 1981.
His reward for sustained success with the East Anglian outfit was promotion to the England job in 1982. In his first FIFA World Cup™ finals appearance at Mexico 1986, Robson steered his side to the quarter-finals, where they were knocked out by a famous Diego Maradona brace. Four year later, he would go one better, taking England to the semi-finals at Italy, where they went out on penalties after a titanic duel with Germany.
Robson then returned to club football, trying his luck overseas with PSV Eindhoven in two separate stints between 1990 and 1999, and taking up the reins in the meantime at Sporting, FC Porto and Barcelona. He returned home in 1999 to take over at his beloved Newcastle United, remaining in the post until 2004. Last year he launched the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation to raise money for cancer research.
Since first being diagnosed with the disease in 1992, Robson had fought and overcome cancer on several occasions, before beginning treatment again in 2007. "He died very peacefully this morning (Friday) at his home in County Durham with his wife and family beside him," said a statement issued by his family.
"I was extremely saddened to hear of the death of Sir Bobby Robson," commented British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. "His passion, patriotism, dedication and professionalism knew no equal during his time both as a player and a manager."
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter said: "I am deeply saddened and moved by the passing of Sir Bobby Robson, one of the greatest personalities of our game. I particularly remember how he managed to lead England to one of their best performances in history, when reaching the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup in 1990. He always showed great passion for the game and will be missed by all football fans across the globe. On behalf of the worldwide football family, I would like to thank Sir Bobby Robson for his memorable contribution to the beautiful game."