Ehiogu died at the age of 44 in the early hours of Friday morning after suffering a cardiac arrest at Tottenham’s training centre on Thursday, where he was Spurs’ Under-23s coach.
Ehiogu, capped four times by England, made over 200 appearances for Villa between 1991 and 2000 and then spent seven years at Middlesbrough.
He won the League Cup with Villa in 1994 and 1996, and also with Boro in 2004.
Ex-Man United stopper Bruce, speaking at the Villa’s training ground, said: “Everyone here is devastated by the news, especially of someone so young who very quietly was making his way as a talented coach.
“He was someone I played against in the ’94 cup final and he played nearly ten years here before he went to have a great career at Middlesbrough too.
“When you consider he came here under Big Ron for £45,000, what a bargain that is. Being a fellow centre-half, he was uncompromising and quick and all of the football world will be shocked and saddened.
“You think of his family and people around him because at 44 it is shocking and a tragedy that someone has lost their life.”
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Villa will be holding a minute’s applause before Sunday’s Championship derby with Birmingham and both sets of players will wear black armbands as a mark of respect.
Bruce , who used to play and manage Birmingham, added: “My message to both sets of fans is it is a great game but let’s remember it is only a game.
“Yes come and support your team and get behind your team but let’s make sure as a spectacle we are talking about it for the right reasons.”
Ex-Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie, who played with Ehiogu at both Villa and Sheffield United, told Sky Sports: “This is an absolute shock, to think this could happen to a man of his fitness and age. It is devastating, crazy.
“He was such a character, bubbly and would help anyone. He was a great guy to have around and never had problems with anyone. He was a gentle giant.”