Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley has died suddenly at their team hotel in Paris aged 42.
Foley died overnight at the hotel where the Irish team were staying prior to their match with Racing 92. The European Champions Cup game has been suspended following Foley’s sudden death.
Foley made 201 appearances in the back row for Munster in a playing career that lasted 13 years, having made his debut in 1995. He went on to captain his side to victory in the Heineken Cup in 2006, having finished as runner-up in both 2000 and 2002.
He followed in his father Brendan’s footsteps in playing for Ireland, and captained his country on three occasions, winning 62 caps overall after making a try-scoring debut against England in January 1995.
Foley, who retired in 2008, initially took over as Munster forwards coach in 2011, before stepping up to become head coach in 2014 after the departure of Rob Penney.
A statement by the Irish Rugby Football Union said: "The IRFU and Munster Rugby pass on our deepest sympathy to all of Anthony's family and friends. We ask for privacy for the family at this sad time.”
Tributes have flooded in for Foley from the world of rugby, including from Munster, who tweeted
“It is with great sadness that we bid farewell to our coach, former captain, colleague and friend today, rest in peace Anthony Foley.”
Glasgow Warriors coach Gregor Townsend said: "A sad day for rugby. Hugely influential figure in the game. A good man gone too soon. RIP Axel.”
Former Scotland international Craig Chalmers added his own tribute, saying:
“Can’t believe the shocking news about Anthony Foley. One of our games truly great guys and always a Munster and Irish rugby legend.”
Munster's own fans paid their own respects by singing outside of the ground where Foley was supposed to lead his players into action today.
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