The Irishman played for the Seagulls from 1988 to 1996, before also playing for Oxford, Wycombe and Ebbsfleet.
Chapman played with McCarthy for eight years at Brighton and said: “He was a very close friend of mine.
“We used to room together on away games, we would travel to training together, and we socialised outside of the game.
“It’s horrific. His wife rang me on Sunday, and I just couldn’t believe it. My household is devastated, as everyone is.
“He was a lovely man, a real good friend. And my heart goes out to his family.
“It puts things into a little bit perspective. It’s a tragic, tragic time, he’s gone far too young. It’s very sad.”
Former team mates took to social media to pay tribute to McCarthy - click here to read story