David Duckenfield was in charge of the policing operation when 96 fans received fatal injuries in crushing at the stadium - which was hosting an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest - on April 15, 1989.
And, while giving evidence at the new inquests on Wednesday, Duckenfield admitted that his previous version of events - in which he failed to tell Football Association official Graham Kelly that he had ordered the gate to be opened - was untrue.
"I was probably deeply ashamed, embarrassed, greatly distressed and I probably didn't want to admit to myself or anyone else, what the situation is," he said.
"What I would like to say the Liverpool families is this: I regret that omission and I shall regret it to my dying day.
"I said something rather hurriedly, without considering the position, without thinking of the consequences and the trauma, the heartache and distress that the inference would have caused to those people who were already in a deep state of shock, who were distressed.
"I apologise unreservedly to the families and I hope they believe it is a very, very sincere apology."
The original inquests' verdict of accidental death for all 96 people was quashed by the High Court in December 2012
The inquests continue.
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