Gil Heron (1922 - 2008)

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Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica
Death: Died in Detroit, Michigan, United States
Cause of death: heart attack
Occupation: footballer
Managed by: Erica Howton, (c)
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Gil Heron

Gil Heron (9 April 1922 – 27 November 2008) was a Jamaican professional footballer. He was the first black player to play for Scottish club Celtic, and was the father of poet and musician Gil Scott-Heron. He died in Detroit of a heart attack on 27 November 2008.[1]




overshadowed by a parent

{Gil Scot-Heron's] father Gil Heron, who died three years ago aged 87, was the first black footballer to play for the Parkhead club. The Jamaican born striker known as the Black Arrow for his lightning fast runs joined in 1951.

Heron played for Detroit Corinthians and was spotted by a Celtic scout during a US tour. He also played for Third Lanark before returning to Chicago.

At a book launch in Glasgow, Scott-Heron once said:

"Two things Scots love the most music and football and they got one representative from each from my family."

It became a tradition among Scott-Heron fans to show up at his Glasgow shows in Celtic tops. At one concert, he joked: "There you go again once again overshadowed by a parent."


  1. The Maroons Strassers and Vikings had had success in both the National Challenge Cup and the National Amateur Cup, and the league boasted some well known players, including Hall of Famer Nick D'Orio, as well as Gil Heron, one of the earliest African-American players in US soccer. [2]



  1. Wilson, Brian (19 December 2008). "Obituary: Gil Heron". London: The Guardian.
  2. The Year in American Soccer: 1946 by David A. Litterer 29 March 2005
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Gil Heron's Timeline

April 9, 1922
Kingston, Jamaica
April 1, 1949
Age 26
Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States
November 27, 2008
Age 86
Detroit, Michigan, United States