POLICE have launched a suspicious death investigation after the body of former Socceroo Ian 'Iggy' Gray was found by team-mates in his Sydney apartment.
Former Australia defender Gray, 46, was discovered in his Elizabeth Bay apartment by players from Maccabi Hakoah FC who broke down his door when their coach missed training and did not return calls.
Homicide police tonight said they were treating the death as suspicious and had set up a crime scene at his Onslow Avenue apartment.
"We're just shocked by it all," Gray's devastated father Avenel told The Manly Daily newspaper. "It's all very unclear at the moment, no one can figure out what happened.
"The family is obviously all very upset. We can't even make funeral arrangements until they release the body."
The Australian football community was shocked by the Socceroo veteran's death and paid tribute to a career spent in the sport.
"Ian gave great service to the Socceroos, playing 35 matches over nine years and he was a very respected teammate and a friend to many," said FFA chairman Frank Lowy.
"He was also an active former Socceroo and a great ambassador for football. On behalf of the Australian football community, I would like to send my condolences to Ian's family."
Gray made his Australia debut in 1981 when selected in an Australian Under 20 team to play in a tournament in China.
He was first chosen for the senior Australian side in the 1984 World Series tournament, and later that year joined the Socceroos on an extensive world tour to China, England, Scotland and Italy.
He played in first stage qualifying matches for the 1986 and 1994 World Cups, and took part in the President's Cup in 1991 (in South Korea) and 1992 (Indonesia).
He scored six goals in the 1984 National Soccer League (NSL) season, his last season at APIA Leichhardt, as the inner-Sydney club went as far as the northern division preliminary final.
After then transferring to Marconi he played in the 1985 finals series, reaching the northern division grand final and northern division minor semi in 1986.
From 1988 to 1990 he took part in three consecutive grand finals and was on the winning grand final teams in 1988 against Sydney United and 1989 against Sydney Olympic.
After suffering an injury early in a round 25 match against West Adelaide in 1992/93, he was out of action for six weeks, returning to play in Marconi's 1-0 grand final victory over Adelaide City - his third NSL championship medal.
Upon playing in the 1993/94 finals series, he became the first player to play in nine NSL finals series. He stands as the player with the second-most number of NSL appearances for Marconi, just two matches behind Tom McCulloch.
Although playing predominantly in defence throughout his career, he scored some vital goals for Marconi, including an 80th minute strike in a 2-1 win over South Melbourne in the 1988 minor semi final, and a headed goal in the 1991 elimination semi, which Marconi won over Parramatta Eagles on penalties following a 3-3 draw.
Since leaving the professional football ranks, Ian continued to play at an amateur level for his beloved Maccabi Masters and Team Bondi but turned his attention to coaching and in particular mentoring junior football players.
In 2004 Ian was inducted into the FFA Hall of Fame - Award of Distinction. Ian was also a member of the FFA Appeals committee. Details regarding Ian's funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date.
Police said they were called to his unit about 11pm on Monday.
"A group of the man's friends attended the apartment about 10:45pm and forced entry into the home after having concerns for the welfare of their 46-year-old friend," said a spokesman.
"Police have been told the group of friends became concerned for the man after he failed to keep appointments or answer his phone over the weekend.
"He was found deceased in the lounge room of the apartment and police were called to the premises."
Police added: "A crime scene was established with police and specialist forensic officers conducting examinations of the scene.
"Detectives from Kings Cross Local Area Command investigating the matter are being assisted by officers from the State Crime Command's Homicide Squad and are treating the man's death as suspicious.
"A post mortem examination will be conducted to establish the cause of his death while a report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner."
Born: 22.7.63, Sydney, NSW
35 appearances (6 goals) [1984-1992]
14 A internationals (3 goals) / 21 non-A internationals (3 goals)
Other Australian representative honours:
U-20 - 1981 U-20 World Cup train-on squad
1980 - APIA Leichhardt (Australia) 1 appearance (0 goals)
1981 - APIA Leichhardt (Australia) 14a (0g)
1982 - APIA Leichhardt (Australia) 16a (1g)
1983 - APIA Leichhardt (Australia) 25a (2g)
1984 - APIA Leichhardt (Australia) 29a (6g)
1985 - Marconi Stallions (Australia) 23a (4g)
1986 - Marconi Stallions (Australia) 24a (3g)
1987 - Marconi Stallions (Australia) 16a (0g)
1988 - Marconi Stallions (Australia) 26a (6g)
1989 - Marconi Stallions (Australia) 26a (8g)
89/90 - Marconi Stallions (Australia) 23a (5g)
90/91 - Marconi Stallions (Australia) 22a (3g)
91/92 - Marconi Stallions (Australia) 21a (1g)
92/93 - Marconi Stallions (Australia) 22a (2g)
93/94 -Marconi Stallions (Australia) 26a (5g)
94/95 - Marconi Stallions (Australia) 15a (1g)
TOTAL NSL APPEARANCES (GOALS): 329 appearance (47 goals)