Mackay's acrimonious departure comes despite the club granting him a reprieve last weekend after controversial Malaysian owner Vincent Tan's e-mail demanding he either resign or be sacked.

That ultimatum was briefly lifted when chairman Mehmet Dalman stated Mackay would be in charge for the "forseeable future", but the 3-0 Boxing Day defeat against Southampton proved to be the ex-Watford boss' last in charge.

A statement on the Cardiff website read: "The Board of Directors at Cardiff City Football Club have today relieved Malky Mackay of his duties.

"A new first team manager will be appointed and announced in due course."

Tan's email had included a list of grievances with the former Watford manager, and Mackay said he had been left "deeply upset" by its content.

There has been ill-feeling between the two since Tan's removal of Iain Moody as his head of recruitment in October, and the owner was said to be furious at Mackay's hopes of adding to his squad in January, which resulted in last week's incendiary email.

Mackay had twice requested a meeting with Tan and Dalman this week in order to discuss their differences, but the Scot revealed the Malaysian had turned them down

He refused to step down however but it looked like the axe would fall after last Saturday's 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield, until the reprieve which was to prove shortlived.

Mackay, who has been linked with the vacancy at West Brom, had launched a staunch defence of his performance as manager, which Tan criticised in his email ultimatum.

Thursday's loss left the Bluebirds, who under 42-year-old Mackay won promotion to the top flight last season, just a point above the relegation zone.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers stuck up for his friend, and expressed confidence that he would bounce back from this reverse.

"The guy has given that club so much, he'll go down in history as the manager to take them to the Premier League," Rodgers told a press conference.

He added: "He'll recover and come back fighting and show what a great manager he is."

Among those in the frame to replace Mackay are former Manchester United striker and Molde manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, Sven-Goran Eriksson and Turkish journeyman Yilmaz Vural.

Earlier Friday, Vural's agent Muzzi Ozcan had tweeted: "The story is coming to a End in Wales and a new story will be born ... The next 48 hours will be explosive!"

When news of Mackay's sacking broke, he added: "New page has been turned over as I said .... Wish the best for MM."

Cardiff fans have been backing their now former manager with chants of "Don't sack Malky Mackay" heard among the home support on Thursday.

Mackay is the sixth Premier League manager to leave his job this season, his dismissal following those of Andre Villas-Boas (Tottenham), Steve Clarke (West Brom), Martin Jol (Fulham), Ian Holloway (Crystal Palace), and Paolo Di Canio (Sunderland).

Mackay leaves his post having guided Cardiff to the League Cup final in 2012 and the Championship title in 2013.

They lie 16th in the Premier League, one point above the relegation zone.