Essendon Football Club wishes to extend its deepest condolences to the Gunston family following the devastating news of Ray Gunston’s unexpected passing.

The much-loved Gunston sadly passed away on Tuesday morning, aged 64, and is survived by wife Mandy and children Kate and Jack.

Gunston served as the Bombers’ interim Chief Executive Officer in 2013 and was previously an Essendon Board Member, as well as former Director of AFL Victoria and Director of Sigma Pharmaceuticals. Prior to his interim chief executive position at Essendon, he was the chief financial officer of Tatts Group Limited.

In July 2015, Gunston was appointed general manager of infrastructure, Special Projects and Investments at the AFL before recently moving into a consultancy role with the league.

President Paul Brasher paid tribute to Gunston and his service to the Essendon Football Club.

“On behalf of the Essendon Football Club, we extend our sincere condolences and love to Mandy, Kate, Jack and the Gunston family following the sad news of Ray’s passing on Tuesday,” Brasher said.

“Ray was an incredibly well qualified individual to lead the Essendon Football Club during a dark period. He brought a calming leadership style and expertise to the organisation when it was needed most, and he will be remembered at our club for the sound stability and direction he provided during this period.

“He was a great friend to many people at all levels at our club.”

Chief executive Xavier Campbell said the club was mourning the loss of Gunston.

“Ray was one of the most remarkably decent people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. This is a terribly sad day for Mandy, Kate, Jack and all those who knew and loved Ray,” Campbell said.

“The Essendon Football Club was a better place for Ray’s leadership, service and contribution in his time at the club. On a personal level, Ray was not only a mentor but a dear friend and confidant.

“This has come at a shock for all and we will miss Ray dearly.”

Essendon players will wear black armbands in Sunday’s clash with Brisbane at the Gabba in honour of Gunston, and the club extends its love and condolences to the Gunston family. 

Rest in peace, Ray.