The AFL world is in mourning after the death of former Magpies players Billy Picken and Con Britt on Saturday.

Picken was one of the club’s most loved players, tallied 212 games for Collingwood in 1974-1983 and 1986 after he played two seasons and a further 28 games for Sydney in 1984-85.

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A member of the Collingwood team of the century, Picken twice won the E.W. Copeland Trophy for the Magpies’ best and fairest and was an All-Australian in 1983.

Picken also played in five grand finals but never tasted premiership success, despite being one of the best players in four of the five deciders.

His death hit hard as well as “RIP Billy” was trending on Twitter after the news of his death was revealed.

He was 66-years-old.

Britt played 110 games for the Magpies between 1966 and 1973, who retired at the age of just 26 after a knee injury ended his career.

He was 74 when he died.

Collingwood president Jeff Browne paid tribute to the stars.

“The Collingwood Football Club is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Billy Picken and Con Britt and we extend our condolences to their families and friends,” Mr Browne said.

“Billy was a spectacular player, a dashing defender who could take a big grab and a player who performed extraordinarily in finals matches.

“Soon after making his debut, Billy became a fan favourite with many Collingwood supporters wearing the number 25 on the back of their Black and White jumpers and duffle coats.

“He will be remembered as one of the best-ever players to represent the Collingwood Football Club and one of the greatest centre half backs of his generation.

“Con Britt was a skilful player who spent most of his career across the half forward line and along the wing. He was fast and strong with his attack on the football impressing Collingwood supporters.

“Despite retiring at the age of 26 due to a career-ending knee injury, Con will be remembered as a wholehearted player who gave his all every time he pulled on the number 27 guernsey.”

Social media was quickly flooded with tributes, particularly for Picken.

Sports presenter Stephen Quartermain wrote: “What a sad day for @CollingwoodFC with the passing of Billy Picken. A gun player.”

Nine’s Jo Hall posted: “Really sad to hear of the passing of @CollingwoodFC great Billy Picken.”

Carlton historian Tony De Bolfo tweeted: “So sorry to learn of Bill Picken’s untimely passing. A fierce competitor (those head-to-head contests with Mark Maclure were legendary) and an authentic character in an era when the game was full of them. They broke the mould when they made Billy. Vale.”

Comedian Peter Helliar added: “Vale Billy Picken. Possibly my first favourite Magpie

Herald Sun’s Glenn McFarlane commented: “So saddened with the news my childhood hero Billy Picken has passed away, aged 66. Like so many, I had No. 25 on my duffle coat as a kid before making it Peter Daicos’ No. 35 when Billy left. One of footy’s great characters. Great finals player. What an absolute legend. Vale Billy.”

Footyology’s Rohan Connolly added: “Very sad news. A lovely guy, and what a champion centre half-back he was. Deepest condolences to Billy’s family and friends. RIP.”

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