The Football Club has released the following statement on behalf of Olly Lee:
"I can’t believe I am actually writing this, but having been diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis and Raynaud's condition over a year ago, I am now having to face the fact I can no longer continue my professional football career.
I can no longer perform to the levels I know I am capable of, my body no longer allows it. This has been an extremely painful journey both mentally and physically. I have tried many medications over the last year, and many comebacks, but to no avail.
I am thankful for the moments I have been fortunate enough to experience, and can now finally look back on my career with pride at what I did manage to achieve.
I want to say a special thank you to my wife, Beth, for following me wherever football took us and never questioning it for a second, without your support I couldn’t have done any of it. To my kids, I wish you could have seen daddy play more but I won’t hesitate to get the clips out and I hope I will make you proud in the future. And to my family for guiding me and helping me in both the highs and the lows, I am forever grateful for you all.
I am thankful for all the support from the fans at the clubs I was lucky enough to represent, particularly Luton and Hearts, two clubs that are now extremely close to my heart and I will always follow.
A big thank you must go to Gillingham fans for always being great with me during my time at the club and particularly Manager Neil Harris and all staff behind the scenes for being so supportive during such a difficult period for myself.
There are still tough days ahead but I am very lucky to have found my passion in coaching, and helping people which I am excited to dive into now.
Although playing at the level is no longer part of my journey, it is now the fuel that drives me to help the next generation of players on their journey."
Olly retires from the professional game having made 363 appearances in all competitions for a total of seven clubs across a 13-year career.
Having come through the academy ranks at West Ham United, Olly made his professional debut for Dagenham & Redbridge while on loan towards the end of the 2010-11 campaign and made five appearances before returning to Upton Park.
A second loan stint at Dagenham followed during 2011-12, before joining Gills for the first time as a 20-year-old. He featured seven times before signing for Barnet that summer on a permanent basis. A year later he signed for Birmingham City on a one-year contract which was later extended by 12 months.
A loan stint at Plymouth would follow before Olly agreed a deal with Luton Town in August of 2015. He enjoyed great success while with the Hatters, being part of the squad that won promotion to League One in 2017-18.
After achieving promotion, Lee signed for Heart of Midlothian on a three-year deal in May 2018 and reached the Scottish Cup Final on two occasions. A year later he rejoined Gills on loan until January 2020, but this was later extended until the end of the season.
After a third loan spell at Priestfield, Olly signed a permanent deal at ME7 in June 2021. During his four stints while with the Gills he made 112 appearances and scored 12 times.
Everyone at Gillingham Football Club is devastated for Olly to have to retire. We would like to thank him for his services, and we wish him all the very best for the future.