TRIBUTES HAVE been paid to the wife of former Leeds United player Rio Ferdinand.
Rebecca Ellison died on Friday night after a battle with breast cancer.
Ferdinand’s former club Manchester United, where he made his name and played for more than a decade, said: “Everybody’s thoughts at Manchester United are with Rio Ferdinand today, whose wife sadly passed away last night.”
Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel wrote: “Really sad news that Rebecca Ellison, the wife of Rio Ferdinand has past away. My condolences to Rio, their their children and the family. RIP”
Sports presenter Jake Humpherey wrote: “The thoughts of all of us at BT Sport are with Rio Ferdinand and his children Tia, Tate and Lorenz after the heartbreaking death of his wife.”
Ferdinand, currently a Queens Park Rangers player, told of his heartbreak after his “soul mate” and wife died in hospital aged 34.
In a statement released on the club’s website, he said: “My soul mate slipped away.
“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.”
Mr Ferdinand, 36, thanked his friends, family and hospital staff for their support over the past months.
He said: “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.”