Sylvia Gore, who was England's first goalscorer in women's international football, has died at the age of 71.
The Football Association and Manchester City Women, the club for which she became an ambassador in March, announced Gore's death on Friday.
Gore made history on November 18, 1972, netting the opening goal in a 3-2 victory over Scotland as England played their first official match.
The current England and Manchester City Women captain Steph Houghton paid tribute, saying: "Sylvia was a fantastic person to have around the club - a legend of the women's game.
"She will be sorely missed by all of the players at Manchester City. Our thoughts go out to her family and friends at this sad time."
The FA said it was "deeply saddened" to learn of the death of Gore.
Gore was made an MBE in the 2000 New Year Honours, for services to girls' and women's football.
She served on the FA Women's Committee, after a playing career that took in spells with Manchester Corinthians and Sandbach-based Fodens, and worked as a football development officer for Knowsley Council.
As a striker, Gore once scored 134 goals in a single season, and she helped Fodens beat favourites Southampton to win the 1974 Women's FA Cup final.
Gore went on to manage Wales in the 1980s. In 2014 she was inducted to the Hall of Fame at the National Football Museum.
FA chief executive Martin Glenn said: "We were very saddened to hear of the passing of Sylvia Gore. Everyone at the FA has a great deal of respect for all that she achieved in the game and our thoughts are with her family at this difficult time."
Gore spoke in 2005 about her landmark goal against Scotland.
The match was staged in Greenock, and Gore told council magazine Knowsley News: "I still remember the game. There was only one other game played in Scotland that day - a men's game - because the conditions were so bad.
"I picked up the ball in my own area and ran 40 yards. I thought I would slip over but I stayed on my feet and side-footed the ball past the keeper."
Her contribution to the growth of women's football, which was an amateur game in Gore's playing days but has now reached professional status at the top level, was acclaimed by FA director Kelly Simmons, a modern-day driving force behind the expansion.
Simmons said: "Sylvia was an absolute pioneer for women's football in this country and without her the game wouldn't be in the position it is today.
"She loved the game and just wanted women's football to develop and grow, and played such a big part in its success."