His notable characteristics - boundless energy, a wicked sense of humour and an ability to make friends wherever he went - made him the perfect standard-bearer for Newcastle, the city he came to represent. Newcastle United have confirmed that St James' Park will be open until 5pm to allow supporters to leave their tributes to the former manager, while the FA said flags at Soho Square and Wembley Stadium would fly at half mast.
The Manchester United manager said he was mourning the passing of a great friend, who had shown strength and courage during his fight with cancer and whose knowledge of football was unsurpassed.
"I was never too big or proud to ask him for advice which he gave freely and unconditionally," Ferguson said. "And I'm sure I am speaking for a lot of people when I say that.
"In my 23 years working in England there is not a person I would put an inch above Bobby Robson. I mourn the passing of a great friend; a wonderful individual; a tremendous football man and somebody with passion and knowledge of the game that was unsurpassed.
"His character was hewn out of the coal face; developed by the Durham County mining background that he came from. His parents instilled in him the discipline and standards which forged the character of a genuinely colossal human being. He added his own qualities to that which then he passed on to his sons.
"The strength and courage he showed over the past couple of years when battling against his fifth bout of cancer was indescribable. Always a smile; always a friendly word with never a mention of his own problems.
"The world, not just the football world, will miss him. Let's hope it won't be long before another like him turns up because we could never get enough of them."