Tito Vilanova, the former coach of Barcelona soccer club, underwent emergency surgery on Thursday in connection with a cancer he has been fighting for several years.
The 45-year-old’s health has deteriorated over the last week, forcing doctors at Barcelona’s Quirón Hospital to operate. Vilanova was diagnosed with cancer of the parotid gland – a salivary gland located behind the mouth – in November 2011, and the condition forced him to quit the club on July 19, 2013.
A former player with Barça B, with which he debuted in 1988, Vilanova played with several clubs until 2002, when he began his training career with the Barça youth squad. Later he was sporting director for Figueres and Terrassa, and in 2007 joined Barça B as assistant to then coach Pep Guardiola. From 2008 to 2012 he held the same post with Barça’s top team, then became its head coach during the 2012-2013 season. Under his guidance the team won the Liga championship.