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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 November 2018

Son of Leicester City owner vows to continue Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha's 'big mission'

Vichai, 60, was Thailand's fifth-richest man when he died in a helicopter crash after watching his beloved Leicester City play on Saturday

The youngest son of Leicester City's Thai billionaire owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, issued a heartfelt message of thanks late Wednesday for the cascade of condolences that followed his father's death in a helicopter crash.

Vichai, 60, was Thailand's fifth-richest man when he died in the horror crash after watching his beloved Leicester City play on Saturday.

He made billions from his King Power duty-free monopoly in Thailand, using the cash to invest in hotels, horses and latterly Leicester's once unremarkable football club.

In the first public reaction from his devastated family, his 32-year-old son Aiyawatt - better known by his nickname "Top" - thanked people for the messages of support from across the world.

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"I'm extremely proud to have such an extraordinary father," he said in an Instagram post shared by King Power's press office.

"I'm touched by how many people kept him close to their hearts."

Vichai leaves behind a wife, and four children, two sons and two daughters. All five are on the executive board of King Power.

But Top - already vice-chairman of Leicester - appeared to confirm he has been anointed to lead at least parts of the King Power empire.

"He [Vichai] has left me with a legacy to continue and I will do everything I can to carry on his big vision and dreams," the post said.

"From him I have received a very big mission and legacy to pass on... and I intend to do just that."

The post was accompanied by several photos of the pair embracing, one with Top kissing his father on the cheek and another cheekily presenting a polo trophy to his father. Both shared a love for the equestrian sport.

Top and his mother, Vichai's wife Aimon, paid a tearful visit to the King Power stadium this week, laying a wreath in the centre of the pitch and hugging club executives and players -- with Jamie Vardy and Kasper Schmeichel among those most visibly moved.

The pair were fulcrums of Leicester's 2016 title-winning side, one of sport's most unlikely underdog victories dynamised by Vichai's massive investment and shrewd decision-making.