James Hird's wife has addressed her husband's health scare for the first time after he was admitted to hospital late on Wednesday night.
Mrs Hird has said James' wellbeing is her family's first priority and asked for privacy while he recovers, particularly from the media.
"We wish to express our appreciation for the public support that has been given to James and our family since news of his hospitalisation became known," she said in a statement released on Friday.
"At this time James and the Hird family are in need of privacy. We ask that this privacy be respected. We particularly ask this of the media contingent currently gathered at our house. James' health is our primary focus and concern."
The comments come as the Essendon Football Club Chairman Lindsay Tanner also issued a statement of support for the former Bombers player and coach.
"On behalf of the entire Essendon family our thoughts are with James Hird and his family," the statement reads.
"This is a personal and private matter and we ask the media to respect the privacy of James and his family. The Club will continue to offer its support to James and the Hird family."
It is believed Hird was discharged from hospital on Thursday afternoon but was receiving further care elsewhere.
Hird played 253 games for Essendon from 1992 to 2007, winning the 1996 Brownlow Medal and two premierships -- the first as part of the "Baby Bombers" in 1993, the latter, in 2000, as captain.
He was appointed coach of Essendon in 2010, but was handed a 12 month ban by the AFL from August 2013, due to the fallout from the 2012 supplements program, which was put in place while he was coach.
Hird returned to the club after his forced leave, but eventually resigned his post in 2015 after a string of losses.
He has been criticised in the football community for never accepting responsibility for his role in the supplements saga.Suggest a correction