MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 9: 1966 Premiership players Kevin 'Cowboy' Neale and Barry Breen bring out the 1966 Premiership cup during the 2016 AFL Round 03 match between the St Kilda Saints and the Collingwood Magpies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne on April 9, 2016. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

St Kilda premiership hero Kevin 'Cowboy' Neale has passed at the age of 78 following a protracted battle with Alzheimer's

The Saints confirmed the news of the former spearhead's passing on Sunday morning, stating that Neale "was truly a beloved figure at the Saints, not only among his teammates and fans, but by those who worked alongside him at the club long after his playing days."

"His health struggles in recent times were well-publicised, and his teammates regularly visited him in Albury as a group. Through the difficult times his wife Georgina was always a constant pillar of strength and the club extends its deepest sympathies to her and the Neale family," said statement also read.

Brought to Moorabbin from South Warrnambool ahead of the 1965 season, Neale wasted little time in making his mark, booting five goals during St Kilda's lone grand final win in 1966, a victory that came by a solitary point.

Though adept as a forward, 'Cowboy' made the move behind the ball as his career progressed, often lining up on the game's greatest forwards during the 1970s.

It was during this phase of his career that Neale left a bare-knuckled stamp on the 1971 grand final, opting to swing freely at champion Hawk Peter Hudson in an effort to quell the superstar forward.

After departing Linton Street at the end of the held coaching posts in the ACT and South Australia, leading each of Ainslie, Central Districts and Tuggeranong in succession.

A Team of the Century member for the Saints, Neale went on to act as president of the Saints' Past Players Association.

Neale's passing comes just two months after St Kilda lost another member of their sole flag-winning team after Alan Morrow - yet another Team of the Century Saint - passed away at age 86 in mid-July.

Neale, a larger-than-life character who was feared and adored in equal measure, donned the Saints' famous red, white and black guernsey on 256 occasions between 1965 and 1977, slotting 301 goals in the process.