Lancashire chairman David Hodgkiss has died after contracting coronavirus.

Hodgkiss, 71, is thought to be the first individual directly involved in professional British sport to die having tested positive for Covid-19.

Hodgkiss served the Red Rose with distinction for more than two decades, as board member, treasurer and vice-chairman before he succeeded Michael Cairns in 2017.

The county have not given a cause of death but a spokesman confirmed to the PA news agency that it was “coronavirus-related”.

“It is with great sadness that Lancashire Cricket announces the passing of its chairman David Hodgkiss OBE,” read a statement.

“He was much loved by everyone at Lancashire Cricket Club and respected throughout the cricketing world. Our sincere condolences and thoughts and prayers are with his family.

“A further statement will be released in due course but at this time we ask that everybody respects the family’s privacy.”

Hodgkiss, who is understood to have been battling underlying health issues, was chief executive at steel fabricators William Hare Group in Brandlesholme.

He was awarded his OBE for services to manufacturing and exporting.

William Hare is a Lancashire mainstay, having been formed in Bolton in 1888 before relocating to Bury around the turn of the last century.