The football world has come out in support of Rio Ferdinand after the Queens Park Rangers defender announced the tragic news that his wife, Rebecca Ellison, passed away following a short battle with cancer.
Ms Ellison, 34, leaves behind three children, Lorenz, nine, Tate, six, and four-year-old Tia.
The shocking news has touched the whole footballing community, with a host of clubs and thousands of fans offering their condolences to the Manchester United hero.
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In a statement on QPR’s official website, Ferdinand said: “My soul mate slipped away last night. Rebecca, my wonderful wife, passed away peacefully after a short battle with cancer at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.
“She was a fantastic loving mother to our three beautiful children. She will be missed as a wife, sister, aunt, daughter and granddaughter. She will live on in our memory, as a guide and inspiration.
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“Myself, my parents Janice and Julian, along with Rebecca's parents Lesley and Stephen, would like to thank our families, friends and my club colleagues who have rallied around in these desperate days, weeks and months.
“I would also like to express my gratitude for the dedication and expertise of the staff led by Professors Johnstone and Clarke at the Royal Marsden. Their valiant efforts to prolong Rebecca's all-too-short life will not be forgotten.
“Our grief, as a family, is total. We would appreciate being allowed to mourn privately.”
Current and former teammates pay their respects
Many of Ferdinand’s current and former teammates have used social media to send their best wishes to the former England international.
United captain Wayne Rooney wrote on Twitter: “Devastated to hear about Rebecca. My prayers are with Rio and his family at this sad time.”
While Ferdinand’s former Manchester United teammate David de Gea used the same platform to say: “Devastated after the heartbreaking news. My thoughts goes out to @rioferdy5, family and friends!”
QPR captain said on Twitter: “Just heard the terrible news. My heart goes out to @rioferdy5 and his family. RIP Rebecca”.
But it’s only Ferdinand’s current and ex-teammates who have offered their condolences.
Liverpool, who face QPR at Anfield later today, released a statement on their official website, while FC Barcelona published a tweet to express their “deepest sympathy”.
Everyone here at GiveMeSport would also like to take the opportunity to send their condolences to Rio Ferdinand at this extremely difficult time.