Tilbury Football Club in tribute to murdered ex-player
Three men have been arrested on suspicion of murder after a former non-league footballer was stabbed to death.
Police found Kevin Malthouse, in Blackshots Lane, Grays, at about 00:35 BST on Saturday. He had been stabbed in the chest and died at the scene.
Officers were alerted to men fighting and found three others with "life-threatening injuries", police said.
Mr Malthouse's former team, Tilbury Football Club, has paid tribute, saying he was "a lovely lad".
The 24-year-old had played for the club between 2011 and 2014 and had made 23 appearances.
Tilbury Football Club's manager Gary Henty, who played with Mr Malthouse, said: "I woke up to a message with the news and I was just totally shocked and devastated.
"He was such a lovely lad, he would pretty much do anything for you and wouldn't hurt a fly."
On Facebook, Mr Malthouse was described by friends as "one in a million".
The three arrested men are aged 18, 21 and 22.
Police said the three injured men were being treated at Basildon Hospital for stomach and chest wounds.
It is believed the incident is related to another in nearby Chafford Hundred.
In that incident, an 18-year-old was knocked unconscious on Fleming Road at about 01:55 BST.
He was taken to hospital for treatment and later arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the killing in Grays, police said.