MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Getty Images)

Geelong have described Paul Couch as an “icon” and “a friend,” as tributes flow after the sudden passing of the former Geelong great, following a heart attack on Saturday, aged 51.

Couch played 259 games for the Cats between 1985 and 1997, playing in four grand finals, winning three club best and fairest awards and winning the 1989 Brownlow Medal.

Couch suffered the heart attack while riding his bicycle along the Great Ocean Road on Saturday morning near Apollo Bay.

“Paul Couch was an icon of the Geelong Football Club and a friend to all who knew him,” Geelong CEO Brian Cook said in a statement.

“With a Brownlow Medal, three best and fairests and selection in the club’s team of the century, Paul’s record speaks for itself.

“Paul was a critical player in returning the club to being a regular finals team and was a great big game performer.

“However it was as a fun loving person, husband and father that Paul excelled.

“We pass on our deepest condolences to Paul’s family and friends at this very sad time.

“Paul remained close to many at the club and to his teammates from the 1980s and 1990s. He will be deeply missed by all that knew him.”

SEE ALSO:  Cats given a hand while Roos slip down AFLW draft order