McGarvey, who was last year diagnosed with the disease, was capped seven times by Scotland and had a distinguished club career, playing for St Mirren, Celtic, Queen of the South and Clyde. He scored more than a 100 goals during his five-year stint at Parkhead between 1980 and 1985 and had two spells with the Buddies, amassing nearly 300 appearances. He also had a ten-month spell at Liverpool, although he was unable to break into the first team at Anfield. His move back to Scotland for £270,000, a fee that made him briefly the country’s most expensive footballer.
His son Sean announced McGarvey’s death on Twitter, posting: "Our much loved Dad sadly passed away this morning with his family by his side. We are so thankful for all the support we have received over the past few months."
McGarvey was given a rapturous reception when he appeared on the Celtic Park pitch ahead of a match against Hibs in October. He won two league titles with the club, as well as two Scottish Cups and the League Cup. He is also one of St Mirren’s most legendary players, helping the Buddies win the First Division in 1977 under Alex Ferguson and then lifting the Scottish Cup during his second spell in 1987.
Celtic paid tribute to McGarvey on their website, writing: “Everyone at Celtic is extremely saddened to hear of the death of former striker, Frank McGarvey, who passed away earlier this morning (January 1) at the age of 66. Frank spoke to supporters at Celtic Park ahead of the game against Hibernian back in October to thank them for all their support over the years, and in particular, more recently following the news that he was battling cancer. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Celtic are with Frank’s family at this extremely sad time.”
St Mirren also wrote: “St Mirren Football Club is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Frank McGarvey at the age of 66. Frank will forever be remembered at St Mirren and our deepest condolences are with Frank's loved ones at this very sad time. Rest in peace, Frank.”