Liverpool Football Club was today saddened to hear of the passing of long-time Hillsborough campaigner Anne Williams, who has lost her six-month battle with bowel cancer.
Williams, mother to 15-year-old Kevin, one of 96 Liverpool supporters who lost their lives at the Hillsborough disaster on April 15, 1989, was a leading figure in the fight for justice.
The Chester native had been cared for during her illness at the home of her brother, Danny, and his wife Sandra in Birkdale, and summoned the strength to attend the 2013 Hillsborough Memorial Service at Anfield on Monday.
It was an act so typical of a mum who simply refused to accept defeat.
Like thousands of fellow Reds fans, Kevin said goodbye as he left to travel to Sheffield for the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest 24 years ago. Like 95 others, the teenager did not come home.
The original inquest hearings into the tragedy in 1991 pronounced that all victims had died before 3.15pm - but Anne uncovered evidence to the contrary in Kevin's case.
Witnesses reported Kevin remained conscious for as long as 45 minutes after the suggested cut-off time and called for his mother, facts which instigated a tireless campaign by Anne for the truth.
She was an early chairperson of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign and later independently established Hope For Hillsborough (For Justice) in an effort to secure a fresh inquest for her son.
On three separate occasions an appeal was made to the incumbent Attorney General for a new inquest, only to be rebuffed three times. The European Court of Human Rights also rejected the case in 2009.
Breakthroughs in the fight for justice were achieved in 2012, of course, when the Hillsborough Independent Panel published its report and finally revealed the truth of what happened on that fateful day.
Most poignant for Anne was the confirmation from the panel's findings that as many as 41 of the 96 victims could have been saved, had the emergency services and police response been adequate - vindicating her persistence.
Sadly, six weeks after the momentous day at the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool, Anne was diagnosed with terminal cancer after suffering bowel problems.
With the weight of the HIP report behind them, the Hillsborough families were confident that the original inquests would be quashed and new investigations ordered.
Anne's ill health prompted calls for Kevin's inquest to be brought forward, a quest backed by widespread public support but which unfortunately proved unsuccessful.
All 96 inquest verdicts were then quashed at the High Court in December 2012 and the Government has pledged that new hearings will be held at the earliest possible time - with a preliminary hearing scheduled for April 25.
"It's been worth it. I was never going to give up," she said that day. "I know what happened to Kevin and I want them to put the record straight, call new witnesses and tell the jury what happened to him."
She proudly added: "We've made history, haven't we? We've got that verdict struck and everyone can know now that Hillsborough was not an accident."
Reflecting the impact she has had on many others in the battle for justice during more than two decades of campaigning, Anne was nominated for a national Woman of the Year award in January 2013.
"I've always done it for Kevin and the 95 other victims," she explained months before her death.
"I seem to have been lucky in that I found everyone I went to track down. It was as if Kevin was up there helping me to get justice. There are families who have just hit walls.
"The people of Liverpool, as well as people from all over the country, have been so generous. There are so many people out there who care about the 96.
"It hasn't all been doom and gloom because I've met so many wonderful people along the way, while I have carried on with my life as I have waited for answers.
"They were wearing me down but I thought: 'It will wear them down before me!' I knew I was right and that's what kept me going."
Anne may not have survived to see ultimate justice for her son but her actions have played a significant part in ensuring that 96 families have moved closer to Hillsborough closure.
She leaves behind two children, son Michael (41) and daughter Sara (33), and three grandchildren.