A former English Premier League footballer has died after police fired a high-voltage Taser stun gun at him, according to media reports.

The victim was identified as Dalian Atkinson.

West Mercia police said officers were called to "a report for the concern for the safety of an individual" in Telford, central England, in the early hours of Monday and a Taser gun had been deployed.

A 48-year-old man had died after receiving medical attention, police said.

Media reports said Atkinson, whose former clubs included Aston Villa, Turkey's Fenerbahce and Spain's Real Sociedad, was the dead man.

Tributes began pouring in for Atkinson, who also played for Ipswich Town and Manchester City.

Police said they could not comment further as the matter had been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The police watchdog said its officers had begun an investigation and would release more details later on Monday.

Civil rights groups have spoken of their concern about the increasing use of stun guns and their potential risk. According to figures from the Home Office, police discharged Tasers 1,921 times last year.

Atkinson began his football career at Ipswich Town and scored in Aston Villa's 3-1 win over Manchester United in the 1994 League Cup final.

"Terribly sad news about our former striker. Our thoughts are with Dalian's family and friends at this tragic time," Ipswich said on Twitter.

Source: Agencies