Former Germany striker Uwe Seeler, one of his country’s finest players, has died at the age of 85.

Seeler scored 43 goals in 72 appearances for West Germany at the time, and he appeared in four World Cups.

From 1954 through 1972, he spent his whole club career at Hamburg, scoring 490 goals in 580 matches.

“We will never forget him and will always cherish him,” said Hamburg board member Jonas Boldt.

“Uwe Seeler stands for everything that characterises a good person: Down-to-earthness, loyalty, joie de vivre, plus he was always approachable. He is the epitome of HSV.”

Seeler is the club’s all-time leading goalscorer and was made an honorary citizen of Hamburg in 2003.

“Hamburg mourns Uwe Seeler. He was the first top scorer in the Bundesliga. He has now died surrounded by his loved ones,” said a statement by the municipality of Hamburg.

The striker captained West Germany 40 times, including the 1966 World Cup final defeat to England.

Seeler, who competed in the same four World Cups as Pele, was named one of Fifa’s 125 best living players in 2004.

Seeler became the first player to score in four World Cups, edging Pele by a few minutes.

He was also awarded German Footballer of the Year three times and finished third in the 1960 Ballon d’Or.

“A veteran of four World Cups, he played more than 70 times for his country and helped shape modern German football. Rest in peace, Uwe,” Uefa said.

Seeler was honoured with a minute’s silence before Germany faced Austria in the European Women’s Championship quarter-final at Brentford Community Stadium on Thursday.

A number of Bundesliga clubs have paid tribute to the prolific striker, with Bayern Munich chief executive Oliver Kahn saying his death is a “painful loss for the entire football family”.

“When you think of German football and greatest players, you think of Uwe Seeler,” Kahn said.

Hans-Joachim Watzke, the chief executive of Borussia Dortmund, added: “Uwe Seeler was an extraordinary footballer, but above all an extraordinary person. Without a doubt, he was one of the best strikers that Germany has ever produced.”