Lancashire Cricket has announced that chairman David Hodgkiss, who oversaw the transformation of the club’s Emirates Old Trafford home ground over the past decade, has passed away at the age of 71.

Hodgkiss, who had underlying health problems, died after contracting COVID-19.

Lancashire did not give a cause of death but a spokesman told the PA news agency that it was “coronavirus-related”.

Hodgkiss also held the offices of treasurer and vice-chairman of Lancashire before succeeding Michael Cairns as chairman in 2017.

Lancashire said in a statement: “He was much loved by everyone at Lancashire Cricket Club and respected throughout the cricketing world. Our sincere condolences and thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Hodgkiss oversaw the transformation of Emirates Old Trafford in recent years. In January, Lancashire received the green light from Trafford Council for the next phase of the redevelopment, which includes plans for a new 4,850-seat stand that will take the capacity of the ground to 26,700 – the largest for a cricket stadium outside of London.

Also included in the plans is an extension of the award-winning Hilton Garden Inn hotel, which opened two years ago at Emirates Old Trafford. The decade-long £60m (€68m/$74m) renovation of the stadium helped Emirates Old Trafford secure high-profile matches at the 2019 Cricket World Cup, as well as the fourth Ashes Test between England and Australia later in the year.

After Lancashire revealed the plans back in October, Hodgkiss said the new stand would complete Emirates Old Trafford’s transformation into an “award-winning, world class and all-encompassing stadium”.

In an obituary for The Times, former England and Lancashire cricketer Mike Atherton wrote: “Those of us who knew Hodgkiss will remember him as a warm and generous man, a wholehearted giver to the causes he embraced, whether cricket or conservation, and someone who drank fully from what life has to offer.

“My own long friendship with him started through Lancashire cricket but continued through a shared love of fly-fishing and it was in the wilds of the Scottish Highlands and the Borders, where he could be found during weeks of spring and autumn, that he spent some of his happiest times.”

Image: Lancashire Cricket