Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard says Gerard Houllier helped shape him "into a better player and better person" during his six years at Anfield.
Former Liverpool manager Houllier passed away at the age of 73 just days after having heart surgery in Paris.
Houllier was at Liverpool between 1998 and 2004 and made Gerrard captain of the club.
Gerrard, now manager of Rangers, admitted that the news hit him hard when it reached him on Monday morning.
"Yesterday was a really tough day for myself and [Rangers assistant boss and fellow former Liverpool player] Gary McAllister.
"Gerard obviously played a huge part in both our careers - and also our lives.
"So the news yesterday was very difficult to take. It's a huge blow.
"I came in yesterday morning really happy after our result at the weekend and then to receive that news was a bitter blow.
"He was a special man, a caring man, a loving man. He was more than just a manager."
Gerrard was part of the Liverpool team that lifted the UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup under Houllier in 2001.
Steven Gerrard pays tribute to Gerard Houllier
"Throughout your career, different people look after you and shape you," Gerrard added.
"I always try and take all the best bits from all the coaches and managers I worked. It's impossible for me add the charisma, the care and the love that Gerard carried.
"This is not a guy who would focus solely on football and what you gave to him in terms of the relationship player-to-manager.
"This was someone who, at my age, wanted to change me as a human being into an elite professional, who wanted me to be a better person, who wanted me to really understand the tactics and the game in a different way and become an even better player and build all the other stuff around the talent I had at that age. I'll never forget that.
"I've got an awful lot to thank the man for and I'm finding it really hard to come to terms with it right now.
"I need to send my condolences to his family who I know will be in pain at the moment.
"It's just a sad, sad day for football and for me personally. It will take me a little while to get over this one."